The project was pitched to the OCA as the "Central Track Writers Project," which takes its name and inspiration from the rich cultural history of Dallas.
Deep Vellum has announced an evening celebrating the release of three poetry chapbooks by Edyka Chilomé, Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi, and Mike Soto: the first books by Dallas writers that they will publish. The launch will be held at Deep Vellum Bookstore, 300 Commerce Street, Dallas, on Friday, August 30, beginning at 7 p.m.
The evening will feature the presentation of these brand-new poetic works made available for the first time by three of the most talented, important, and innovative writers in the Dallas literary community, celebrated and showcased via a collaborative reading and discussion. Quantities of the chapbooks will be limited.
The three local writers to be featured are all residents of the city of Dallas and are representative of a broadly diverse swathe of Dallas’s population—writing in three differing poetic traditions—that make help make Dallas an inspiring place to live, read, and write:
- Edyka Chilomé is a literary-arts activist, performer, and cultural worker currently based in Dallas. She is a queer child of Salvadoran and Mexican migrant activists and was raised in social justice movements grounded in the tradition of spiritual activism. In 2017 Edyka was named one of the top twenty-five most influential artists in DFW by Artist Uprising Magazine. Her play "Where Earth Meets the Sky," produced by Cara Mia Theatre Company, was praised as 2018's top Latinx Theatre Production in DFW by Theater Jones Review. In the summer of 2018 Edyka was a part of Sandra Cisneros's Macondo Writers Workshop and is currently a 2018-2019 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow.
- Fatima-Ayan Malika Hirsi is the founder of Dark Moon Poetry & Arts, a monthly series spotlighting the creative feminine and non-binary people of color energies of North Texas. She can often be found on sidewalks using her typewriter to birth poems for strangers or in classrooms unlocking the imaginations of children. She has been published in the Texas Observer, Entropy, The Boiler, Anthropology Now!, and elsewhere. Her work has been featured by WFAA, KERA, the Dallas Morning News, and others. Her first chapbook, Moon Woman, was published by Thoughtcrime Press in June 2018.
- Mike Soto is a first-generation Mexican American writer, raised in East Dallas and in a small town in Michoacán. His debut chapbook, Beyond the Shadow's Ink, was published by Jeanne Duval Editions in 2010. His debut book-length work of poetry, A Grave is Given Supper, will be published by Deep Vellum in summer 2020.
This chapbook publication and reading presentation is brought to you by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs through a Cultural Vitality Project grant. The project was pitched to the OCA as the "Central Track Writers Project," which takes its name and inspiration from the rich cultural history of Dallas. In the late 1800s, the Central Track rail lines separated Deep Ellum from the rest of Dallas (around where I-345 is today). At that time, uncommon diversity among business owners in Deep Ellum created a unique social climate where cultural interaction took place in the fields of music, visual art, theater, and literature.
Deep Vellum seeks to carry on the legacy of the neighborhood's vibrant cultural history, even incorporating a pun on the neighborhood into their name. The Central Track Writers Project creates opportunities for writers within the city limits, harnessing the creative power of Deep Ellum’s present cultural capital and status as an urban-core arts destination, and utilizing their platform for individual literary artists to share their vision, displaying to the city of Dallas and the world that literature is art, and that Dallas literature is an art to be celebrated, read, and shared.