Part community news bulletin, part travel guide, and part literary magazine, Voices de la Luna drops the reader into the vibrant arts community of San Antonio, Texas. The magazine describes itself as "actively promoting poetry and arts in San Antonio by supporting other literary and arts organizations." Discovering the interdependent community of creative folks represented in Voices de la Luna’s pages makes me want to buy a one-way ticket to this great town.
There is an interesting write-up of an event which reads like an unintentional performance piece. “Art in the Dark” was a silent auction for blind and visually impaired individuals receiving rehabilitative and employment opportunities through a nonprofit called the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind. Thirty-three local artists donated work, and each piece was covered in black cloth so that attendees might “see” them using only their sense of touch. My favorite part of this experiment in empathy is that the art was unveiled after the bidding took place.
The self-possession of San Antonio’s writers and musicians seems in line with the editors’ assertion that “poetry heals minds, and arts advance the quality of life.” The magazine includes the poems of schoolchildren, people in therapy groups run by Voices de la Luna editors, and major poets like Naomi Shihab Nye and Jim Daniels. My favorite poem is "The People I'm Becoming" by Elzy Cogwell. The speaker in Cogwell’s poem addresses the ways in which lovers lose themselves in each other, and in many ways become part of each other. Sometimes, lovers outgrow each other and move on, leaving a shell of themselves behind: “It was like she shed her skin / from those anguished years / and left it as a diploma.”
Another story of personal growth comes from “A Response to Destruction” by H. Palmer Hall. Hall, a schoolteacher, shares his reaction to the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In the weeks after the attacks, H. Palmer Hall remembers how it was better for his students to fill their sense of loss with self-expression, and to be creative rather than dwell on destruction. “William Carlos Williams was so right in ‘Asphodel,’” Hall quotes:
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.
Along with an appreciation for the power of art, Voices de la Luna is also full of Texas pride. The bio of featured visual artist Sylvia Benitez notes her husband is "a sixth-generation Texan." In an interesting interview with Richard Becker, endocrinologist and co-owner of Becker Vineyards, the question of how Texas wine can compete on a national and international scale is neatly deflected. “We have a great advantage in Texas,” Becker points out, “because Texans love things Texan if they are good.”
This inclusive, open-minded magazine is in its fourth year and is published in four formats: high quality hardcopy, eMagazine, PDF, and website. Past issues are available in the archive section of their website, so there’s no excuse not to check out Voices de la Luna.