Who do you see when you look in the mirror? The narrator in Gerardo Pacheco Matus’ “Pandillero Without a Gang” says that he resembles his “indio father and indio-mulatto mother,” the features of “millions of other Mayan men.” We were struck by Gerardo’s prose and look forward to performing his piece on January 12 at our Beyond Borders show at the San Jose Museum of Art.
Gerardo Pacheco Matus is a Mayan Native and recipient of fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, The Frost Place, and Macondo. Pacheco was awarded the Joseph Henry Jackson Award. His poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared and are forthcoming from the Grantmakers in the Arts, Apricity Press, Amistad Howard-University, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, The Packinghouse Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, West Branch Wired, Four Way Review, The Cortland Review, Nashville Review, Pilgrimage Magazine, Memorious Magazine, Rivard Report, Tin House Magazine.
- San Francisco Foundation Joseph Henry Jackson Award for his poetry project, The Child of the Grasses.
- Miami Writers Institute.
- Redwood City Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.
- “Faces of Our Community 2.0.”
- Frost Place’s the Conference on Poetry Scholar.
- Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Work-Study Scholarship in Poetry.
- Pushcart Prize Nominee, “Everything is a Dream.”
- “The Pintura:Palabra National Ekphrastic Workshops, in tandem with the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Travelling Exhibit, “Our America: The Latino Presence in America Art.”
- “Smuggling Poems” and “Snake,” Memorious Magazine.
- “Mexicali Dirt,” Rivard Report.
- “This Is How You Get Rid of Ants,” The Nashville Review, Issue 24.
- “I’ve Been Born a Thousand Nights,” The Cortland Review, Issue 74.
- “Portrait of a Young Undocumented Immigrant in America,” Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3.
- “Mi Nombre Es Dimas,” LUNALUNA MAGAZINE, July 13, 2017.
- “Creation,” Four Way Review, Issue 10.
- “Genesis,” “Things I claim in the Desert,” West Branch Wired.
- “Trail Of Dry Grass”, “I Live In My Fields,” and “No More Reapers,” APRICITY Press.
- “I’m Writing from the Wasteland,” “Travellers of Space and Time,” “Dancing Shadows,” “Everything is a Dream,” “Crow Funeral,” “Scarecrow,” “La Urraca,” I’m a Shepherd Ready to Pipe,” Haight Ashbury Literary Journal.
- “The Children of La Frontera,” La Bloga Online Magazine. (Republished as part of Best Poems of 2014: La Bloga On-line Floricanto in).
- “Institutionalized: My Influences as an American Poet,” Black Lawrence Press.
- “Have You Ever Listened To A Pig Being Slaughtered at Night?” Cipactli.
- “A Feast of Letters,” “Rattlesnake,” “Salmon” and “Crow’s Treasure II,” Feather Floating of the Water Poems for Our Children.
- “A Canvas of Crows,” “A Dust Storm Is Coming,” “I Followed the Crows Across the Hills,” “Winter Crows I,” Grantmakers in the Arts, Winter vol. 24 No 1.
- “49 Reasons Why You Should Occupy San Francisco,” Occupy SF Poems from the Movement.
- “Child of the Grasses,” (An Excerpt) San Francisco Foundation.
- “He is a Saint Man” Spillway Magazine, fall vol. 16.
- “Los Chingados” and “If you Ever Visit Huhi” Transfer Magazine, spring vol. 99.
- “Los Chingados” El Tecolote. vol. 4º No. 15.
- “If You Ever Visit Huhi” Amistad Howard-University, http://www.amistadjournal.wordpress.com.
- “Ghost Town: 24 Hours B4 SB 1070,” “The Moving Train,” “El Poema De Aquel Que Murió En EL Desierto”La Bloga Online Magazine, http://labloga.blogspot.com.
- “Green Grass” and “El Desierto” Cipactli Magazine, spring vol.15.
- “Jesus is Gone” Blue Print E-Zine, www.blueprintzine.net.
- “The Most Dangerous Weapon” Cañada College’s Student Voices, vol. 1.
Gerardo answered a few questions for us in advance of the show.
What are you working on now?
I am working on my debut poetry collection, Child of the Grasses. An excerpt from Child of the Grasses’ was awarded the distinguished Joseph Henry Jackson Award administered by The San Francisco Foundation. The award-winning poet and juror Lorna Dee Cervantes writes, “Child of the Grasses presents us with the Native’s view of The Americas: spare, rich, glistening with truths of the ‘natural world’ and bristling with insights into the human condition within that true world…Here is the meaty voice of the immigrant, the worker, the watcher, the Elder’s wisdom.” Child of the Grasses is my lifelong project and I hope to find a nice home for my collection of poetry soon.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
One of my great mentors and friends, Anniqua Rana, was featured in Play on Words. Anniqua told me about how great she felt about having her piece performed in Play on Words since then I have been intrigued by Play on Words. Thus, I decided to send a “Pandillero without a Gang.” In addition, I have been writing Pandillero without a Gang for a long time, and I hope that by participating in Play on Words, I will be able to see sparks of what is next in this collection of short stories.
Which writers or performers inspire you?
I love Jimmy Santiago Baca. His poetry moves mountains. I found myself reading his poetry collection Martin and Meditations on the South Valley to get inspired to write new work.
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
Reading Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo changed the way I understand my role as a writer. As a Mayan Native, Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo opened a new realm of possibility to understand where I come from and the traditions that have influenced me since I was a young man.
Come see us perform Gerardo’s work! Tickets are free but going fast; reserve yours now for our January 12 show at the San Jose Museum of Art. Entrance includes free admission to the museum.