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The Cockroach Poet

Chicano literary icon Raul Salinas celebrates 70th B-Day in LA

By Alejo Sierra
Published on LatinoLA: March 17, 2004


The Cockroach Poet


Author of the epic poem "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail" ? a classic in Chicano letters ? veterano, ex-pinto, jazz beat literary pioneer and communty/political activista Raul Salinas, or raulrsalinas as he prefers, will celebrate his 70th birthday with a fundraiser in his honor at Self-Help Graphics on Sunday, March 21st at 6:30 p.m.

A literay luminary who has shared podiums and microphones with giants such as Miguel Pi?ero, Pedro Pietri, Oscar Zeta Acosta, John Trudell, Jose Montoya, Ernesto Cardenal and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, among many others, Salinas has also been a tireless crusader for human rights and social justice, as reflected in his work with the Amerian Indian Movement and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and his writing clinics for at-risk youth in countless juvenile detention facilties and community centers nationwide.

Author of three poetry collections "Viaje/Trip" (chapbook), "East of the Freeway," and "Un Trip Through The Mind Jail," plus the forthcoming "Indio Trails: A Xicano Odyssey through Indian Country" (Wings Press) as well as two spoken word CDs "Los Many Mundos of ra?lrsalinas" and "Beyond the BEATen Path." His literary work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. He is also an adjunct professor at St. Edwards University, Austin, Texas. In 2002, ra?lrsalinas was the recipient of the Louis Reyes Rivera Lifetime Achievement Award presented on behalf of La Causa student group at Amherst College, Mass. and The Dark Souls Collective. In March of 2003, he was honored with the Martin Luther, Jr., C?sar Chavez, Rosa Parks Visiting Professorship Award given by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Born in Texas on March 17th, 1934, raulrsalinas is one of the few remainging poetic voices from a special circle of writers that includes Jose Antonio Burciaga, Ricardo Sanchez, Pi?ero and the recently passed Pietri. A people's poet who has dubbed himself, effacingly, the "cockroach poet," Salinas has traveled the globe as a representative of indigenous philosophies and revolutionary-humanist ideologies. Through it all he has remained faithful to the word as a curative, a restorative magic to be used for healing and redemption.

For the last several decades he has mentored aspiring writers, both in and out of his humble shop in Austin, Texas, Resistence Bookstore. His friends, fans and comrades will come together in Los Angeles for a special tribute entitled "From Bebop to Hip-Hop: A Spoken Word/Music/Media Celebration of Literary Pioneers, Cultural Warriors & Community Elders. Special guest will include members of Culture Clash and spoken word artists from Basement Nation.


About Alejo Sierra:
Alejo Sierra is a lifelong student of "El Maestro" Raul Salinas, and has written for the Austin Chronicle and OYE Magazine.




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