Let me say how pleased I am to welcome Andrea Blancas Beltran to MIEL. Andrea will be acting as an associate editor over the course of 2016, working with me on the editing and production of many of MIEL’s 2016 books and the two final issue of 111O slated to come out this year. I’ll let her introduce herself in her own words, and leave you with my excitement at the prospect of working with her.
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The west Texas border city of El Paso is where I call home. I was born and grew up here, but couldn’t wait to move away as soon as I found the chance. I lived in a suburb north of Dallas for over a decade, but my longing for my family, especially my aging grandparents, led to a long drive home, and here I’ve replanted myself among the mountains, cactus, and tumbleweeds.
I love to cook, bake, and grow and eat tomatoes. I make postcards on occasion. I’m quite fond of ants and snails and kind people. I’m a fan of Twitter as it’s afforded me opportunities to connect with many beautiful souls. My word for the year is ATTEND.
I recently completed my MFA in Poetry at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT where I wrote about women and translation in my critical thesis, “milk / del trans / late?: Cecilia / Vicuña & / Rosa Alcalá.” I’m revising my first book of poems and short essays.
These words from Eduardo Galeano’s The Book of Embraces are with me everywhere: “What it all comes down to is that we are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing contradictions of every day life.”
MIEL continues to show me the importance of creation and diversity through its curious and thoughtful writers and artists and beautiful books, microseries chaps, postcards, and the like. MIEL and Éireann have given me new ways to think about language and art. I’m grateful and delighted to be connecting as an assistant editor with the MIEL community as it’s a community that consistently reminds me why I read and write.
I think back to Metta Sáma’s Le animal & other creatures, in which she says to Elisabeth Houston: “The question, for me, is how to transform realities into art & into questions that are not heavy-handed.” This is what I feel MIEL does: transform. I look forward to helping introduce these questions to readers and the world from my corner of the west Texas border.
—Andrea Blancas Beltran