EPISODES     HOSTS    COLLABORATORS     CONTACT     PRODUCTION

Ink well” —a suggestion/salutation/blessing to the literary community of Houston, the Texas Gulf Coast, and beyond.

Welcome to Ink Well: A Podcast by Tintero Projects and Inprint. Join writers, educators, activists, and founders of Tintero Projects Jasminne and Lupe Mendez, as they work with Inprint, a 30+ year old nonprofit literary arts organization in Houston, Texas, to host Ink Well, a literary podcast available on this page and on SoundCloud and Apple Podcasts for anyone engaged in the world of reading and writing. With their energy, wit, and fresh perspective, Jasminne and Lupe will interview writers (established as well as emerging) from across the United States on what it’s like to “ink well” in this day and age.

Episodes

Season 2, Episode 2: Natalia Sylvester


In episode 2 of season 2 of Ink Well, hosts Jasminne and Lupe chat with Natalia Sylvester about her novel Everyone Knows You Go Home.

Born in Lima, Peru, Natalia Sylvester came to the US at age four and grew up in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Miami, is a faculty member of the low-residency MFA program at Regis University, and works as a freelance writer in Austin. Natalia’s work has appeared in Bustle, Catapult, Electric Literature, The Austin American-Statesman and McSweeney’s Publishing. Her first novel, Chasing the Sun, was named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad. Her latest novel, Everyone Knows You Go Home, won an International Latino Book Award and has been named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Real Simple magazine. The Adroit Journal describes it as “a beautiful touchstone for the ways in which narratives surrounding migration and familial bonds sometimes need to be wrenched from the mouths of pundits and reporters to return them to the world of flesh and blood, to the daily lives of the people living these stories.” Learn more about Natalia’s work at nataliasylvester.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Season 2, Episode 1: Jonathan Mendoza

In the first episode of season 2 of Ink Well, hosts Jasminne and Lupe chat with Jewish and Mexican American poet Jonathan Mendoza.

Jonathan Mendoza is a Boston-bred, Jewish and Mexican-American poet, musician, youth social justice educator, community organizer and activist. He is a National Poetry Slam champion with the House Slam of Boston, Massachusetts, a three-time award winner at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, the 2018 winner of the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest, and a finalist for Button Poetry’s 2018 chapbook contest. Jonathan currently organizes in Chicago around police brutality, migrant rights, and gentrification as a Midwest Academy fellow. He is a proud anxious Virgo, Greek yogurt enthusiast, and devout believer in the power of young people to shape and transform this world for the better. To learn more about his work, visit MendozaPoetry.com.

Season 1, Episode 9: Rigoberto González

In episode 9 of Ink Well, the final episode of season 1, hosts Jasminne and Lupe Mendez chat with poet and author Rigoberto González. He was in Houston as part of the 2017/2018 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series in April.

Rigoberto González is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. About Unpeopled Eden—his most recent poetry collection, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets—Booklist says, “González writes with unrelenting honesty, composing long poems of successive septets, with an eye for vivid, brutal imagery…. With what may be his most ambitious collection yet, González reaffirms his role as a preeminent voice in Chicano poetics.” His poetry collection So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks was a winner of the National Poetry Series, and his collection Other Fugitives and Other Strangers won San Francisco State University’s Poetry Center Book Award. González received the American Book Award for his memoir Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa. His memoir  What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood came out this past March. His major works of fiction include the novel Crossing Vines and the story collection Men Without Bliss, as well as two children’s books. He writes a monthly column for NBC-Latino online, is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, and serves as critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times.

Season 1, Episode 8: Samanta Schweblin


In episode 8 of Ink Well, hosts Jasminne and Lupe Mendez chat with 2017 International Man Booker finalist Samanta Schweblin. She was in Houston as part of the 2017/2018 Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. A majority of this episode is in Spanish./En episodio 8 de Ink Well, anfitriones Jasminne y Lupe Mendez charlan con Samantha Schweblein, una finalista para el premio Internacional Man Booker. Sra. Booker estaba presente en Houston para participar en la serie literaria Margarett Root Brown de Inprint.   La Smayoría de este episodio es conversación en español.

“Samanta Schweblin is one of the most promising voices in modern literature,” according to Mario Vargas Llosa. Fever Dream, her first novel and the first of her books to be translated into English from Spanish, was a finalist for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it “a taut, exquisite page-turner…. In a literary thriller of the highest order, Schweblin teases out the underlying anxieties of being vulnerable and loving vulnerable creatures and of being an inhabitant of a planet with an increasingly uncertain future.” The New Yorker says “the book feels as if it belongs to a new literary genre altogether.” She is also the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and was named to Granta’s list of best writers in Spanish under 35. Her story collection Pájaros en la Boca (Mouthful of Birds), for which she received the Casa de las Américas Prize, will come out in English in 2018. Born in Argentina, she now lives in Germany.

Season 1, Episode 7: Sheila Maldonado


In episode 7 of Ink Well, hosts Jasminne and Lupe chat with New York based poet Sheila Maldonado.

Sheila Maldonado is the author of one-bedroom solo, her debut poetry collection. Her 2nd publication, that’s what you get, is forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press. Her poems have appeared in Gulf Coast, Ping Pong, Rattapallax, and Callaloo, and online at Luna Luna, Hyperallergic, and Aster(ix) Journal. They have been anthologized in Brooklyn Poets Anthology, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, and Me No Habla with Acento: Contemporary Latino Poetry.

She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Creative Capital awardee as part of desveladas, a visual writing collective. She has served as an artist-in-residence on Governors Island, New York for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and a Cultural Envoy to Honduras for the U.S. State Department. She grew up in Coney Island, New York, across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. Her family hails from Honduras.

Season 1, Episode 6: Jasminne Mendez


In episode 6 of Ink Well, host Jasminne Mendez gets the table turned on her as she is interviewed by host and husband Lupe Mendez plus guest host and Houston writer Icess Fernandez about Jasminne’s new book Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poems. 

Jasminne Mendez, an Afro-Latina who loves cupcakes, wine, and her husband Lupe, received her BA in English Literature and her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has had poetry and essays published by or forthcoming in The Acentos ReviewCrab Creek ReviewTexas Review, La Galeria,Label Me Latino/a, Gulf Coast, and others. Her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. Her second book, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays & Poems  was released by Arte Público Press in April 2018. She is a 2016 VONA Alumni, a Macondo Fellow, a 2017 Canto Mundo Fellow, and an MFA candidate in the creative writing program at the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

Season 1, Episode 5: Tony Diaz


In episode 5 of Ink Well, Jasminne and Lupe chat with Houston writer, activist, and professor Tony Diaz.

Writer, activist, and professor Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, was the first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Communications from De Paul University in Chicago. Diaz is currently a professor of Mexican American Literature and Rhetorical Analysis in Houston, Texas. He is also a political analyst on “What’s Your Point” which airs on Fox 26 Houston and hosts the weekly bilingual radio program Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say on KPFT 90.1 FM Houston.

His essays have appeared in the Houston Chronicle, The Texas Observer, CNN.com, the Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post Latino Voices, among other publications. He is author of the novel The Aztec Love God and is included in Hecho En Tejas: The Anthology of Texas Mexican Writers. He recently launched the column “The Cultural Accelerator”. He is the lead writer and editor for the textbook The Mexican American Studies Toolkit. He also is an educational consultant for school districts implementing innovative curriculum. Diaz made national and international news when he led the Librotraficantes in defying Arizona’s ban of Mexican American Studies.

Season 1, Episode 4: Robin Davidson


In episode 4 of Ink Well, Jasminne and Lupe chat with poet Robin Davidson about Houston’s Favorite Poems Anthology and more.

Robin Davidson, a resident of Houston for more than 50 years, was named Houston’s second Poet Laureate by Mayor Annise Parker in 2015 and served through April 2017 under the leadership of Mayor Sylvester Turner. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and is the author of two poem chapbooks, Kneeling in the Dojo and City that Ripens on the Tree of the World, and the collection Luminous Other, as well as co-translator with Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska of The New Century: Poems from the Polish of Ewa Lipska. Most recently she has served as editor for Houston’s Favorite Poems, an anthology of best loved poems contributed by those living in Greater Houston. She teaches literature and creative writing as professor of English for the University of Houston-Downtown.

To order a copy of Houston’s Favorite Poems click here or stop by Brazos Bookstore.

Season 1, Episode 3: Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

In episode 3 of Ink Well, Jasminne and Lupe sit down with poet Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is a mother, wife, educator, and the current Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. This seven-time National Poetry Slam Competitor and Head Coach of the Houston VIP Poetry Slam Team has been ranked the #2 Best Female Poet in the World. Her work has appeared in Houston Noir, The Houston Chronicle, and on such platforms as BBC, ABC, Blavity and Upworthy.

Season 1, Episode 2: Daniel Peña

In episode 2 of Ink Well, Jasminne and Lupe chat with Daniel Peña about his new novel BANG.

Daniel Peña is a Pushcart Prize winning writer and Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. His debut novel BANG, published by Arte Público Press, is described by NBC Latino as “such a timely novel that offers devastating insights into how communities adapt to severe shifts in culture and society.” Publishers Weekly says, “Peña examines the symbiosis of the United States and Mexico and makes painfully clear the negative effects of international trade legal and illegal. This is a notable and compassionate novel.” Formerly based out of the UNAM in Mexico City, he worked as a writer, blogger, book reviewer and journalist.  His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, The Rumpus, the Kenyon Review Online, Callaloo, Huizache and elsewhereHe’s currently a regular contributor to the Guardian and the Ploughshares blog. He is a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholar and a graduate of Cornell University.

Season 1, Episode 1: Analicia Sotelo

For the inaugural episode of Ink Well, Jasminne and Lupe chat with poet Analicia Sotelo.

Analicia Sotelo is the author of Virgin, the inaugural winner of the Jake Adam York Prize, selected by Ross Gay, forthcoming in February 2018. Bustle says, “Virgin introduces readers to a young, Mexican-American feminist narrator who is sarcastic and unafraid, curious and self-discovering, and interested in everything from unrequited love and heartbreak to un-romanticized sex and the historically fraught terrain of virginity, and so much more.” Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, praises the book: “Sotelo explores the power of mythologizing personal history in her striking debut…and from the start [she] cultivates intimacy through moments of vulnerability….With humanity and raw honesty, Sotelo finds fresh ways to approach romance, family, and more.”

Analicia is also the author of the chapbook Nonstop Godhead, selected by Rigoberto González for the 2016 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship 30 and Under, the 2016 DISQUIET International Literary Prize winner in poetry, and her poem “I’m Trying to Write a Poem About a Virgin and It’s Awful” was selected for Best New Poets 2015 by Tracy K. Smith. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, Boston ReviewKenyon ReviewNew England Review, The Iowa Review, and The Antioch Review. Analicia holds a BA in English literature from Trinity University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, and currently serves as Director of Communications and Development for the nonprofit Writers in the Schools in Houston, Texas.

Poems read on this episode are from Virgin by Analicia Sotelo (Minneapolis, Milkweed Editions, 2018). Copyright (c) 2018 Analicia Sotelo. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org. To pre-order/purchase a copy of the book click here.

About the hosts

JASMINNE MENDEZ, an Afro-Latina who loves cupcakes, wine, and her husband Lupe, received her BA in English Literature and her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has had poetry and essays published by or forthcoming in The Acentos ReviewCrab Creek ReviewTexas Review, La Galeria,Label Me Latino/a, Gulf Coast, and others. Her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. Her second book, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays & Poems (Arte Publico Press) is forthcoming in Spring 2018. She is a 2016 VONA Alumni, a Macondo Fellow, a 2017 Canto Mundo Fellow, and an MFA candidate in the creative writing program at the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

LUPE MENDEZ is a Poet/Educator/Activist, CantoMundo, Macondo & Poetry Incubator Fellow ,and co-founder of the Librotraficante Caravan. He works with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say to promote poetry events, advocate for literacy/literature, and organize creative writing workshops that are open to the public. He is the founder of Tintero Projects and works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. His publishing credits include prose work in Latino Rebels, Houston Free Press, Kenyon Review, and Norton’s Sudden Fiction Latino: Short Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and poetry that appears in Huizache, Luna Luna, Pilgrimage, Border Senses, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Glass Poetry Journal and Gulf Coast. He is currently editor of They Say, the Texas based-YA poetry anthology from Iconoclast Artists. Lupe and received his MFA from the University of Texas @ El Paso and teaches in Houston, TX

Collaborators

Founded by poets Lupe and Jasminne Mendez, Tintero Projects / Proyectos Tintero aims to promote writing and reading opportunities for emerging Latinx poets and writers in the Houston/Galveston/Gulf Coast Region.  Tintero Projects is the emerging writers’ arm of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, focusing on creating workshop and open-mic opportunities in Spanish, English, Spanglish, Indigenous Languages, and Portuguese, and helping to establish a network of Latinx community-based writers.
Currently, Tintero Projects hosts poetry readings in collaboration with local venues and organizations across the city of Houston to showcase the work of national and international Latinx/Latin American writers, hosts a biannual writing workshop series consisting of four sessions per month in the fall and in the spring, and provides a monthly open mic series. For more information click here.

A nonprofit organization founded in 1983, the mission of Inprint is to inspire readers and writers in Houston. Inprint has helped to transform Houston into a diverse and thriving literary metropolis, where creativity is celebrated and Houstonians come together to engage with the written word. Through the Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series and Cool Brains! Inprint Readings for Young People, thousands of individuals of all ages meet and hear from the world’s most accomplished writers and thinkers. The Inprint Writers Workshops, Teachers-as-Writers Workshops, Senior Memoir Workshops, writing workshops for veterans, and Life Writing Workshops for healthcare providers help individuals of all backgrounds to become better writers, better understand the world and their place in it, and prepare work for publication. The Inprint Poetry Buskers, with typewriters in hand, demystify and increase appreciation for poetry in communities throughout the city. Inprint’s support since 1983 for the nation’s top emerging writers at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program—more than $4 million in fellowships, prizes, and employment—has enabled more than 500 graduate students to impact their communities and the nation through writing, teaching, and more. For more information click here.

CONTACT

We love hearing from our listeners. If you have feedback about an episode, ideas for an episode, or just want to say hello, contact us at inkwell@inprinthouston.org. Keep reading, keep writing, and of course, keep listening!

Follow Tintero Projects on Facebook and Twitter and follow Inprint on Facebook and Twitter.

Production

Ink Well is hosted by Jasminne and Lupe Mendez of Tintero Projects, produced by Kristen Flack and Krupa Parikh of Inprint, and recorded, engineered, and edited by Josh Walker with One Fifty Media House.

This podcast is made possible by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance and Inprint’s other generous supporters.