105th Annual Meeting Program: The Locals

Texas Folklore Society
By Texas Folklore Society
Posted February 12, 2024 to .

Tags: 2024 events, Texas Folklore Society, Texas Folklore Society Annual Meeting, San Antonio

When considering the location for this year’s meeting, San Antonio was the only choice. We missed the chance to gather in the city in 2020, and in addition to providing a sense of place like few other cities can, San Antonio is a crossroads of cultures—Mexican, European, and Western—and offers a unique personality. It is also a bustling city of about 1.5 million people, with tons of talent. Luckily for TFS, some of the talented folks rooted in the city—Tish Hinojosa, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Cary Clack—are participating in the program.

“Many thanks go out to Program Committee Chair MaryAnn Blue, the committee, and Paisano Dr. Bob Flynn for pulling together a fantastic lineup of professional and laymen folklorists for what is shaping up to be another fantastic gathering,” TFS Executive Director Kristina Downs said.

Honoring TFS history, San Antonio native, Mexican-American Singer-Songwriter, and master of folk music, Tish Hinojosa, will share insight on her once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship with celebrated writer and folklorist Américo Paredes (1915-1999). A Brownsville native who authored With His Pistol in His Hand, Paredes served as TFS president from 1961–62.

And, as if her presentation was not enough, Tish will also perform during Friday night’s banquet. Her music catalog now includes more than a dozen studio albums, as well as live albums and retrospectives. She has played at The White House and the Texas governor’s mansion. She was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Association Music Legends Hall of Fame in 2018 and awarded membership to The Texas Institute of Letters—the second songwriter to receive the honor of membership—in 2019.

The vibrant city of San Antonio is not the only common thread, Naomi Shihan Nye and Cary Clack—like several of our Paisanos past and present—are also members of the esteemed Texas Institute of Letters, a nonprofit Honor Society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievements.

Long-time San Antonio resident, Trinity University graduate, and poet and songwriter Naomi Shihab Nye is also a master of her craft. Her honors include awards from the International Poetry Forum and the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Lifetime Achievement Award, and four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow (like Américo Paredes), and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988, she received the Academy of American Poets’ Lavan Award.

Naomi’s presentation, “Poems of Little Pockets of Folklore in Our Lives,” will feature her poetry and poems from children. 

Cary Clack is a columnist and editorial board member with the San Antonio Express-News, where he was the first Black metro columnist and the first Black member of the editorial board. He has covered local and national news, events, and social issues for three decades. In 2017, he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. The Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awarded him opinion writer of the year in 2021, followed by awards for editorial writing in 2022 and both general column writing and editorial writing in 2023. He is the author of Clowns and Rats Scare Me and More Finish Lines to Cross. He lives in San Antonio​.

Cary’s presentation will center on his latest book, a collection of his best columns since returning to the San Antonio Express-News in 2019. It includes more than eighty pieces about the issues of the day, from Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and the war in Ukraine to the impact of COVID, the death of George Floyd, and the mass shooting of schoolchildren in Uvalde.

Local special guests also include poet Carmen Tafolla, who will present the opening greeting for our 105th Annual Meeting, as well as representatives of The Alamo Trust and The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.