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My upcoming Fall events

September 2, 2015

Here are a few upcoming events I will be featuring at and as always I should have some books to sell. (Now’s a good time to contact me if you want to book an event or want me to extend my stay somewhere so I can make flight arrangements and such.) Hope to see you around!

Fall 2015

Maya Chinchilla at UMD-1 copy image001


Acknowledgements From The Cha Cha Files- A year later

May 26, 2015

As I look back at the incredible year of my first book I want to share my gratitude by reprinting the acknowlegements and thank yous from my book.  Thank you for witnessing this journey. As always I would love to hear from you about how you came to read the Cha Cha Files. It has been a group effort. Looking forward to what’s next.


There are many in my life without whom this book could not have been possible. I give thanks to those who came before me and to those who risked everything in the name of justice. Thanks to those who believed in me, cheered me on, gave me guidance, created art with me, provided an ear, fed me, and loved me.

I am grateful to those who invited me to speak, write, perform and share my early works—my second favorite part about being a writer, second only to the practice of writing itself. I want to thank those who engaged and wrote about my early poems before I realized I was part of a larger conversation. To the newer generation of writers, thinkers, creators: you consistently remind me this work matters and continue to blow my mind with your connections and questions. To those who crossed my path but could not stay, no scarcity politics here. I will always wish you well, for there is enough to go around for everyone.

There are too many to thank by name here; too many I will forget. I will just have to write another book and if you stick around I’ll thank you then. Regardless, know that my gratitude is never ending.

To la familia Chinchilla and the Stoltz family, to Kathy, Bill, Carmen, Kris and extended family for all things.
I especially want to thank the kind souls who read multiple drafts of this collection providing unique and invaluable feedback. There were many eyes and ears, but in particular I thank: Vickie Vértiz, a generous talent, meticulous eye and one of a kind homegirl; Wanda Alarc—ón, artist scholar conjurer, holder of femme-stories and unique insight; Amalia Ortiz, powerhouse poet and playwright with the right words at the right time; Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, muse, firebrand and visionary.

To my maestros y maestras of all ages who planted important seeds, including:

Willie Perdomo, Thomas Glave, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Juan Felipe Herrera, Cherrí’e Moraga, and Sharon Bridgforth for craft, heart and the most life affirming and game changing workshop experiences.
To Sarah Guerra a powerful force, a creative strategist, an underappreciated, behind-the-scenes magician, a family-dinner-and-dessert for the weary and for a community of loyal followers, evil conspirators and circus queens. Amiga. Go, Spurs, go.

Rio Yañ–ez, for making every moment an art project, for Chicano-Chapina post-apocalyptic-solidarity trading cards, cartoon intellectualism, ghetto-nerd-zine guides to the universe, arguments about commas and feminism. Friend.

Yolanda López, a seer, muse, inspiration, trailblazer, funny, witty and kind. My favorite Chicana Feminist artist before there ever was such a thing.

Ana Patricia Rodrí’guez, for my first Central American literature class, for vision and understanding the hunger for justice, for critical conversations, for long distance mentoring. Your work is relevant, necessary and visionary. Gracias.

Elmaz Abinader, for tough love, poetics and the VONA community.

Patricia Powell, for generous, detailed feedback on the original thesis beast.

Rebecca Edwards, for intellectual encouragement and “queer subject time we desire.”

Truong Tran for my first graduate poetry workshop and for seeing me through to the end.

Luz V‡ásquez-Ramos, LBC homegirl, rockera aventurera, Mexico City international strategist.
Raul el Vampiro Diaz, todaví’a haciendo del Terror. Chingas mucho. Por eso te quiero. Familia para siempre.

Eddy Alvarez, for Jota poetics, for mapping LA with love, for writing dates and bringing out the scholar poet in me. You and your work are an incredible gift.

Michael Hames-Garcí’a, for refuge in Oregon to write, for profound conversations, for nourishment both delicious and inspired.

Central American filó—sofos y feministas: Leisy Ábrego, Karina Oliva-Alvarado, Suyapa Portillo, Alicia Estrada, Leyda Garcia, Arely Zimmerman, Oriel Mar’a Siu, y Arturo Arias. I am in awe of your intellect, creativity and fire. Each one of you has altered my universe profoundly.

To my creative community:

Melissa Lozano, Lisa Marie Rollins, Kenji Liu, Aimee Suzara, Sara Campos, Ruben C. Gonzales, Chino Martinez, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Julio Maga–ña Saludado, Cruz Grimaldo, Hugo Carbajal, Virgie Tovar, Julia Eden Ris, Sandra Garcia Rivera, Adilia Torres, Lito Sandoval, Chucha Marquez, Karla Marcela,Yosimar Reyes, Amir Rabiyah, Jaime Barajas, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, Nancy AidŽ Gonzá‡lez, Hector Tobar, Darlene Elasigue, Nicole Griffin, Gracie Arguelles, Aleh Hurtado, Felipe Flores, Carmen Iñ–iguez, Connor Fu, Nia Witherspoon, Adelina Anthony, Dino Foxx, Anel Flores, Maricela Olguin, Madeline Lim, Kebo Drew, Liliana Hueso, Olga Talamante, Galerí’a de la Raza, La Peñ–a Cultural Center, The Chicana Latina Foundation, National Queer Arts Festival (NQAF), Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC).

To the Magic Room Poets for showing up and sweating it out. Adobe Dojo, for practicing pure joy in the desert and a return to play and paper. Friday night writers, No Trigger Warnings writing circle, the Church of Poetry, the Lunada Literary Lounge, Hybrid Performance Experiments, Epicentro Poets, End-Dependence, Rainbow Theater, Spanish for Spanish speakers, Sugarcane, Peacock Rebellion, Teatro Q, VONA Voices, Dos Brujas and especially to all the women of Las Manas: I carry your potent powers with me always.

Colegas for the opportunity to learn, teach and transform:

Clarissa Rojas, Teresa Carrillo, Nancy Mirabal, Bridgette D‡ávila, Katynka Mart’ínez, Alejandro Murgia, Luz Calvo, Catriona Rueda Esquibel, Carlos Cordova, Andrew Jolivette, Gabriela Segovia-McGahan, Alberto Ledesma, Chela Delgado, Frank Galarte, Pedro Di Pietro, Cindy Cruz, Genevieve Negró—n-Gonzalez, Sandra Álvarez, A De la Maza, Audrey Silvestre, Sara A. Ramirez, Jen Vaughn, Leis Rodriguez, Sayo Fujioka.

To the K—órima Press family: thank you for this sacred work.

Maya Chinchilla

Oakland, CA May 2014

Tonight! Pan Dulce Poets: Harina, Agua y Corazon 5/14 at la Reyna Bakery on 24th St.

May 14, 2015


SF International Flor y Canto Literary Festival May 14-16, 2015. 

Pan Dulce Poets: Harina, Agua y Corazon 5/14 at la Reyna Bakery on 24th St. For info on events visit:

    Featuring: Edward Rarneri, Giulio Sorro, Maya Chinchilla, Joseph Rios, Miguel Robles


    May 8, 2015

    Maya at UCLA 2015 copy

    Event Date: Monday, May 11, 2015 – 2:00pm to 4:00pm
    Event Location: CSRC Library – 144 Haines Hall

    The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética (Kórima Press, 2014) by Maya Chinchilla is a timely debut that makes visible the Central American-Guatemalan diaspora and disentangles the myths from the mayhem of civil wars, urban wars, and the wars raging in young hearts. Part memory, part imaginary, The Cha Cha Files honors Central American feministas, Long Beach roqueras, families divided by war, lovers separated by borders, and celebrates the pleasure and heartbreak of femmes, machas, y mariconadas. These poems, stories, and snapshots traverse California coastlines and southern borderlines, cut across tense multi-culti high-school hallways, sing Solidarity Movement songs, mosh through tribal slam pits, and find home in the vibrant Bay Area where radical activists and lovers alike come of age. Chinchilla’s hopeful and uniquely Chapina voice emerges as a significant contribution to U.S. Latina/o literary works.

    Maya Chinchilla is an Oakland-based Guatemalan femme writer, video artist, educator and author. Maya writes and performs poetry that explores themes of historical memory, heartbreak, tenderness, sexuality, and alternative futures. Her work—sassy, witty, performative, and self-aware—draws on a tradition of truth-telling and poking fun at the wounds we carry.

    Cosponsored by the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, the Latin American Institute, the Department of Gender Studies, the Office of Instructional Development, and the CSRC.

    This event is FREE.

    Central American symposium at UC Davis-today!

    April 29, 2015


    Today at UC Davis Chicana/o Studies Symposium Discussions on Central America & Cultural Identity Formation 12-3pm with Maya Chinchilla and Yvette Flores Multi-Purpose Room (2nd foor)

    Student Community Center. 

    Wednesday April 29, 2015

    I got selected as a LAMBDA literary fellow

    April 8, 2015

    Help me get to the Lambda Literary retreat for emerging LGBTQ Writers!

    I have the incredible honor of being selected as a Literary Fellow to work with Cherrie Moraga as part of Lambda’s Summer Writing Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. This will be my first opportunity to develop my playwriting in a professional and intensive setting.

    As many of you know I published my first book of poems and stories “The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética” last year and have been teaching part time and seeking new job prospects while touring my book. Teaching is incredibly rewarding but in order to take my work to the next level, I need to take advantage of this opportunity to spend focused time with gifted master writers. The space and time to write in a dedicated community of writers is a precious gift and necessary investment in the work I want to keep producing.

    I was awarded a partial scholarship but I cannot go to this retreat without your support. I am looking to raise $850 for tuition, room, board and travel.

    THANK YOU I made my first goal to pay for my tuition room and board! *To help get me there click here:

    Now, as they say, making a donation is easy and safe – simply click here and choose a perk or simply donate any amount.

    Thank you for supporting my work over the years and for taking the time to help me on my next challenge. As Walter Mercado says, “paz, dinero y mucho, mucho amor.”

    With lots and lots of love,


    Femme on Purpose: Queer Latina Solidarities

    April 3, 2015


     Excited to perform at Spanish Matters Colloqium, Queer Geographies: Remapping Hispanic Studies April 3 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington! I am the closing performance keynote on the final day Friday April 3 at *2pm 

    I will be selling books and buttons. Come say hello.  Tell your Seattle/Tacoma People! It’s free and open to the public.


    Sign up to my mailing list

    March 9, 2015

    Click here for my mailing list!

    Maya by Rio

    Click the image or link above to sign up for messages and updates about my events and happenings.

    Central American Unicorn

    March 8, 2015


    Tonight at the Mujeres de Maiz international women’s day event I will be selling books and limited edition Central Anerican Unicorn buttons. I am taking donations to raise money to go to the Lambda Literary writing retreat this summer. Check it out here:

    Upcoming Performances

    February 25, 2015

    I have two really fun and amazing performances coming up.
    This Friday February 27 in San Francisco I am reading as part of

    Radar & Galeria de la Raza Present: Banned Book Book Club: POC Edition

    and on Sunday March 8 in Los Angeles I am a featured performer as part of the annual
    MUJERES DE MAIZ 18th Anniversary Live Art Show Festival

    I am so excited for both! I have so much love for the work for both of these organizations. RADAR is so dreamy in all the work they do to support queer writers and Mujeres de Maiz, based in Los Angeles, will be a bit of a home coming for me. I once performed at a Mujeres de Maiz event with my teatrista crew “Las Manas Tres.” I can’t remember the date at this moment but it was long enough ago that we were doing an epic piece about MYSPACE. It was an incredible event and it is such an honor now to be coming back as an author and poeta. I will be there performing my heart out and selling books.
    Please come say hello at either one of these dates.
    More info about both of these amazing events below:

    “Celebrating banned books gives us the occasion to recognize books as the radical and subversive things that they are.”
    -Michelle Tea

    The Banned Book Book Club celebrates the rich history of banned and challenged book! Each month Radar chooses a theme and asks some of our favorite artists to read from their favorite banned or challenged books. For the month of FEBRUARY, RADAR partners with Galeria de la Raza to bring you some of our most beloved writers who will read from banned or challenged books written by people of color!

    Join us…
    February 27, 2015
    Galeria de la Raza
    2857 24th Street in San Francisco
    Hosted by Virgie Tovar

    Featuring readings by…
    Juliana Delgado
    Mason J
    Maya Chinchilla

    mujeres de maiz

    The highly anticipated Annual Intercultural, Interdisciplinary, Intergenerational Mujeres de Maiz Artivist concert, ceremony and festival featuring womyn of color and Q/T performers honoring our 18th Anniversary, International Womyn’s Day and Womyn’s Herstory Month and the coming of Spring & Mexica New Year since 1997.

    Sunday, March 8th, 2015

    (6:00-9:00pm) *Marketplace opens at 5:30pm

    Legacy LA
    1350 San Pablo Street,
    Los Angeles, CA 90033
    (behind General Hospital and near Hazard Park)

    $10-$20 Donation at the door, sliding scale.
    Credit Cards and exact change accepted.
    *This is also our 1 big fundraiser of the year to provide free and low cost programming and to fund our soon to be non-profit!

    Spoken word,
    Political speakers
    y mas!

    3 Generaciones
    Destani Wolf
    Get Lit – Words Ignite Youth Poets Tashi & Camille
    Maya Chapina
    Mujeres en Resistencia
    and more announced every week!

    Opens at 5:30pm with over 20 womyn & Q/T vendors selling artesania, jewelry, books, holistic health items, art and much more. Mujeres de Maiz t-shirts, past and NEW Zines will also be available!
    *Vendors please fill out this form to be considered:

    -All Ages w/ Limited Seating.
    -Event is wheelchair accessible.
    -Please inbox us for accommodation needs.
    -Free parking on surrounding streets.
    -This is an alcohol and drug free Event for the health of our communities and families.
    -Healthy food will be available for purchase.