Alma Luz Villanueva

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico- taken by my son, Jules Villanueva Castano

"The whole world is a form for truth." Rumi

GOOD NEWS: My 4th novel, SONG OF THE GOLDEN SCORPION, and a new book of poetry, GRACIAS, will be published as Twins this year, and I'm so happy to say that the novel is now published. Go to 'LINKS' (the right hand column) for a direct route to the novel- and both books will be available on Amazon by November. The novel is up on Amazon right NOW, both book and Kindle. The novel takes place in Mexico, where I now live, an 'older woman, younger man' relationship (not the 'cougar type'), their story gathering many other necessary stories of our time, as we enter the Sacred Sixth Sun...GRACIAS follows my life in Mexico, crossing the USA border to teach, visit familia, friends, and other travels, on the outer map and the inner map, sorrow and joy, always GRACIAS. The book of poetry, GRACIAS, will be published in November, same publisher, site.
I just climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan, rattle in hand, singing....

SOFT CHAOS, my newest book of poetry (2009), is now available on www.amazon.com- please feel free to review it. It turned out beautifully, thanks to the lovely 'Windhorse' painting on the cover (by the painter, Alfredo Arreguin- titled 'Jardines del pedregal). My novel, LUNA'S CALIFORNIA POPPIES, has been included/​excerpted in the newly published anthology, CALIFLORA- a lovely book, including John Muir, Mary Austin, Robinson Jeffers, Linda Yamane, Gary Snyder, M.F.K. Fisher...a mix of prose, poetry celebrating California's vast beauty. An essay, 'Leap of Faith,' was recently published in the anthology/​textbook, VISIONS ACROSS THE AMERICAS- actually a republication with some new writers it appears- with these wonderful writers... Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Alice Walker, Black Elk, Arthur C Clark, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, N. Scott Momaday, John Steinbeck, Nikki Giovanni, Isaac Asimov, Luis M Valdez, Malcolm X, Ursula Le Guin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Louise Erdrich, Paula Gunn Allen, and more. These are some of my favorite writers, their essays, an honor. Can't wait to read these essays- for all you teachers, take note. Finally, on the writing front- I've completed my fourth novel (final, FINAL draft), SCORPION HUNTER, which led me into the Mayan Sixth World, the Hopi Fifth World... December 21, 2012...not 'the end of the world,' but a time of human transformation, as the Mayan Long Count Calendar begins anew. The next cycle, 5,200 years. And I've begun work on a new novel- always the poetry, and dreams, continue to guide me.

I was raised in San Francisco's Mission District by my curandera/​healer Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva... with the assitance of my mother, Lydia Villanueva and her sister Ruth Villanueva. Jesus taught me to recite poetry by heart (in Spanish) for church and she often read me poetry in Spanish. So, though I write in English, the language/​meaning is rooted in Spanish, and the Yaqui prayers I heard my grandmother sing every morning to the new Child Sun. Without Jesus Villanueva, Mamacita, no MEMORY. No poetry. No stories.

I began to publish poetry first in the late 1970s, winning first place in poetry with the University of California at Irvine's Chicano Literary Prize. My books of poetry: BLOODROOT- MOTHER, MAY I?- LIFE SPAN- PLANET (which won the Latin American Writers poetry prize, N.Y.)- DESIRE (poetry chosen for THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY, 1996)- VIDA. Some anthologies: A CENTURY OF WOMEN'S POETRY- PRAYERS FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, Inspiration From Leaders Around The World- UNSETTLING AMERICA- A FORMAL FEELING COMES, and many more, as well as textbooks from grammar to university.


My three novels: THE ULTRAVIOLET SKY (won an American Book Award, listed in 500 GREAT BOOKS BY WOMEN)- NAKED LADIES (won the PEN Oakland fiction award, anthologized in CALIENTE, The Best Erotic Latin American Writing)- LUNA'S CALIFORNIA POPPIES (recently excerpted in the anthology, CALIFLORA). And WEEPING WOMAN, LA LLORONA AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of short stories. Most recently, a short story from WEEPNG WOMAN, in the anthology SUDDEN FICTION LATINO, also with Marquez, Allende, Bolano and others. COMING OF AGE IN THE 21st CENTURY, a short story from WEEPING WOMAN, also with Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, ZZ Packer and others. As well as many other anthologies, both fiction and poetry, that are listed under my name on Amazon.com. And again, my fiction, and poetry, is published in textbooks, from grammar to university- I hear from students, as well as teachers, which I always love. As well as 'regular readers,' which I also appreciate (and love).


I taught fiction/​poetry at UC Santa Cruz, as well as Cabrillo College in Aptos- have done guest teaching at Naropa Institute (in Boulder, Colorado)...Mesa College, UC San Diego (in San Diego, California)...Stanford University, Pacific University, to name a few. I now teach in the MFA in Creative Writing program with Antioch University in Los Angeles www.antiochla.edu- a low residency program that meets in June/​December for ten intense teaching/​learning days, then an intimate, very in-depth, one-on-one, exchange via the internet, online university, with six students for the semester. I've taught at Antioch for fourteen years at this date 4/​12- many of my students have gone on to publish, and I'm very proud of them. I now live in San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), the past seven years, and travel during the year to do readings, workshops, seminars, writer visits, as well as private ones here in San Miguel. So I travel back and forth between Mexico, the USA, the ancient trade routes, during the year. I'd like to add that I've been doing readings of my work, presentations, for thirty plus years as of 2012...I often like to lead the audience in a guided visualization to the top of the Pyramid of The Sun in honor of the Mayan Long Count Calendar's ending/​beginning anew on December 21, 2012 (when they foretold an unfolding of human spirit, and the Hopi very challenging times). I use/​play the clay Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) flute, I bought years ago at the foot of the Pyramid of The Sun, as a guide to the top, that view, that vision. In my thirty plus years of doing readings, I've had quite a few standing ovations, and once an audience spontaneously shouted, I LOVE YOU, and I said it right back to them. My poetry and fiction has been the subject of Masters/​Ph.D. thesis papers in the USA and abroad, and I often hear from graduate students in this regard. But most of all, I believe poetry is from the heart/​spirit to the heart/​spirit of another human being- and if they stand to honor that, write about my poetry/​fiction in their thesis papers, or to receive an honest question, compliment, from a grammar/​high school student, I'm very happy. Again, I travel during the year to do readings, seminars, workshops- please feel free to contact me directly at the email on this site for available dates, as well as publication permissions, queries. Also, to students who contact me regarding their thesis papers, I'm glad to answer up to four questions but I can't answer a list, but, again, I do love to hear from students and readers, their personal thoughts...and I do receive wonderful emails, gracias.

And so, as we approach the Hopi/​Pueblo Fifth World...the Mayan Sixth World...the unfolding of the human spirit, the next 5,200 years, may it be so, as the Mayan Long Count Calendar begins anew. If I ever see you in person, ask me to show you the 'nakwach,' the Hopi handclasp of brother/​sisterhood. An amazing Hopi kachina carver/​creator at Indian Market, Santa Fe- his kachinas were stunning- while talking and laughing, suddenly grabbed my right hand in the 'nakwach,' telling me, "This is how we'll know each other in the next World."
Into the Sixth World...

My email: almaluz.villanueva@​gmail.com
Blog: www.almaluzvillanueva.blogspot.com

Selected Works

Novel/poetry, The Twins
Please scroll down this column for the direct route to my publisher, gracias.
Poetry
"Written with the urgency of dreams and the courage to face whatever life brings, the poems in SOFT CHAOS cast a spell that chants mystery back into our world, revealing the fierce and tender love that has always been here. To open this book is to enter a vision where even the dust is sacred, where life's endless spiral of beauty and wonder dances in your bones, dances against the forces that would tear them to pieces, dances la vida, and survives." Peter Levitt, author of WITHIN WITHIN.
"The poetry of Alma Luz Villanueva, like her prose, is drawn from the gut, her womb, and a vital point in an intelligent woman's mind. She always speaks from the heart. She delivers to the reader the offerings of a whole human being. She sings, she rages, she lets us know that above all, the poet is a mirror to our own inner triumphs and failures." Ana Castillo, author of SO FAR FROM GOD
"This riveting volume full of lingering images and provocative, personal and political moments opens my heart and aligns me with the powerful feminine forces that continue to surge through Ms. Villanueva's writing. Her transformational journey becomes my journey. She speaks from the heart and reaches the heart." Burleigh Muten, author of RETURN OF THE GREAT GODDESS
POETRY
"What I still most enjoy about Villanueva's poetry, aside from the strength of her images and the way they convey her inner life, is her voice. That voice is confident, direct, unflinching, intimate." Marie-Elise Wheatwind, from The Women's Review of Books, May 1994.
Fiction, short story collection
"LA LLORONA, the weeping woman, walks through the pages of this book as a spirit guide, someone unto whom other's sorrows flow...Villanueva shows the power of the human spirit in this disturbing and beautiful book." Library Journal, March 1, 1994.
Novels
"Villanueva's ultraviolet sky is overhead for all of us."
--Kathryn Trueblood, The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology.
"One of the most inspiring elements of this novel is the wonderful portrayal of strong women."
--Veronica Chambers, Los Angeles Times, 1994.
"Holden Caulfied meets Anne Frank in this compelling coming-of-age novel."
--Library Journal, May 2002