The Acentos Review May 2012

Dr. Raina J. León, CantoMundo fellow (2012), Cave Canem graduate fellow (2006) and member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, has been published in numerous publications such as Natural Bridge, African American Review, OCHO, Black Arts Quarterly, Poem.Memoir.Story, The Packinghouse Review, among others.  Her first collection of poetry, Canticle of Idols, was a finalist for both the Cave Canem First Book Poetry Prize (2005) and the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize (2006) and is now available through Wordtech Communications. Her second manuscript, Boogeyman Dawn was a finalist for the Naomi Long Magdett Poetry Prize (May 2010) and will be published in early 2013 through Salmon Poetry.  She co-founded The Acentos Review (June 2008), an international quarterly online review fostering the work of Latino and Latina artists and writers. She is currently an assistant professor in the Single Subject Credential Program-English at St. Mary’s College of California.  

Delia Neyra is a junior English and Spanish major in the Honors program at St. Mary’s College of California.  She co-founded and co-edits Verso y Flor.  With roots in Oakland and Nicaragua, she writes in English and Spanish.  She is an Oakland Rotary Club Saroni Lena Scholar.  She completed her Spanish major in Sevilla in Fall 2011 and is currently a Spanish tutor for high school students.  She has also tutored Adult ESL classes.  Contact her at

Yesenia Hernández Macías is a junior in the Honors Program at Saint Mary’s College of California. She is double majoring in Spanish and Accounting. She is a member of Alpha Mu Gamma, the National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society as well as Sigma Beta Delta, the National Honor Society in Business, Management, Administration, and Accounting. Having been born in Guadalajara, México and raised in Big Sur, she co-founded and co-edits Verso y flor.  She is interested in learning more about Spanish-language publishing and has dreams of one day becoming a linguistics professor.
Selections from Verso y Flor.pdf

Click above for 

“Beso” by Delia Neyra

“Me encontré” by Yesenia Hernández Macías

Verso y Flor Interview.caf

Click above the audio file of the interview (Note:  background noise is evident)

Verso y Flor:  
A compilation of reflections

Just a few months ago, I received an email from a student, recommended to me by Professor Myrna Santiago of St. Mary’s College of California.  At the same time, one of my resident advisors, Linda García, had just mentioned a Spanish-language journal on campus.  The student, and I later found out, editor of the journal, Delia Neyra, was interested in getting to know another Latina professor on campus and discussing poetry and publishing.  We met, for the first time, at the campus café and chatted for a long while about poets and writers (particularly contemporary, multicultural poets), The Acentos Review, and her work starting a Spanish-language literary journal at St. Mary’s.  In conversation, I mentioned that I would be interested in interviewing her and her co-editor and co-founder of Verso y Flor, Yesenia Hernández Macías, as I was and am especially interested in institution building and providing spaces for Latinas and Latinos to showcase our artistic and literary talents.  Recently, I have been considering more and more the role of mentorship in creating such institutions, fostering their growth and ensuring their sustainability.  I offered myself as one of their many mentors, if only as a source of ideas.  

Over the weeks that passed, Delia introduced me to her work and then to Yesenia.  What follows here in text is a compilation of their responses to an interview.  Attached above is an audio file of our interview as well as a PDF sample of the work of both editor-poets, published in Verso y flor 2011.  

Delia first had the idea for Verso y Flor after seeing the support and success of River Run, an English-language journal at St. Mary’s.  She decided that there should be a Spanish-language journal that allowed writers in the community to celebrate their language.  She first approached Professor Lori Spicher and then Yesenia, eventually receiving support from the Dean of Modern Languages as well as the on campus Honors Program.  

When considering the purpose of Verso y Flor, Yesenia wrote, “Verso y Flor is aimed at highlighting and exhibiting the great works that are produced by the St. Mary’s students in Spanish.  There are already venues of expression for English speakers and writers, but it is limiting for those who speak Spanish.  We saw a potential audience with a lot of literary creativity, which makes us proud to be able to display great works.”  

The purpose of the journal is needed, but there is still work to do as far as sustainability.  As juniors, Yesenia and Delia both admit that there is a need to develop structures so that the journal does not die in the happiness of their graduations.  “[We] plan to make a team for next year,” wrote Delia.  In our interview, she later added that she has hopes that Verso y Flor could become a journal receiving submissions on a national level.  

The journal already requires a great deal of work.  When talking about the editing process, Delia said, “We both sit down.  We divide the submitted works in half, and we read them on our own.”  She added, “Some technical grammar errors, that’s easy to fix.  It’s really helpful to me to discuss everything.”

Both editors note, too, that editing the journal has also increased their knowledge of their own language.  “When I was in school, I didn’t understand accents,” said Yesenia, adding later that while she understood her home language, she has learned a great deal about the grammar from her Spanish classes and editing Verso y Flor, particularly through discussion with Delia and authors about the purpose behind artistic decisions in the use of accents and in syntactic placement.  

When asked what they were reading right now, Delia wrote:  Gabriel García Marquez, Ruben Darío, Professor Marilyn Abildskov, Julio Cortázar, Federico García Lorca, Miguel Cervantes.  Her advice to writers was this:  “Let your imagination run wild.  Be confident in your writing”.  

Yesenia wrote, “Right now, I am reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck.  I chose this work, because Steinbeck is from the same area as I am, so I have read a lot of his other works such as Cannery Row and The Pearl.  In addition to fiction, I have been reading a lot of Spanish literature, because I have been taking two Spanish literature classes, which have been amazing.  My favorite authors thus far have been Miguel de Unamuno, Miguel Cervantes, Emilia Pardo Bazán, and Leopoldo Alas, [also known as,] Clarín.”  

It is truly my hope that Verso y Flor continues long into the future.  It stands as an incredible resource at a small, liberal arts and Catholic institution with a strong Spanish-speaking and culturally rich population.  It also represents notable efforts on the part of students to institution-build.  

What other journals are there out there that address the literary and artistic needs of Spanish-speaking audiences at colleges and universities?  Email with your addition..