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LAF 2019 Gill Sotu Slam Competition   LAF 2019 John Gibler


2-3:15 PM

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This event is made possible in part by the generosity of WACC, the World Arts and Cultures Committee of Grossmont College.




Open to all Grossmont College students, poets will battle for the title of Grossmont College Grand SLAM champion with works addressing a range of issues, including social justice, gender, and personal identity. Hosted by writer, musician, dj, and performance poet, Gill Sotu, the competition is limited to ten participants and conducted in two rounds; the six top performers from Round One face off in Round Two.



LAF 23 author Gill SotuTeacher and social advocate Gill Sotu facilitates poetry workshops within San Diego County’s juvenile detention center, including weekly workshops with local juvenile inmates. Currently a teaching artist with The Old Globe Theatre and Artist In Residence at Makers Church in San Diego, Sotu was Artist In Residency at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation where he was commissioned to write/direct two full length plays. Sotu also composed and performed the poetic segments to Melissa Adao's dance theatre showcase, "Hip-Hop CabHooray!" winner of Outstanding Production at the 2015 Fringe Fest. Featured on NBC 7's Art Pulse TV, Gill Sotu has opened for such artists as Talib Kweli and Grammy-nominated legend Sheila E., performed for the United Way of San Diego and San Diego's Fashion Week, partnered and performed with the San Diego Symphony, and hosted TEDx San Diego in 2017. In addition to being the 2006 Grand Slam Poetry Champion of Ventura County and a three-time winner of the Borders Poetry Slam, he has also been named 2012 and 2013 San Diego Raw Performing Artist of the Year.




Sotu, Gill and Jerrica Escoto. How To Love Gods and Acrobats. (2014)

How to Love Gods and Astronauts The Best Goodbye

The Best Goodbye. Written by Gill Sotu. Directed by Patrick Kelly. (2016)



Sotu, Gill and Aaron Evans. Movement: Break, Build, Become (Gill Sotu 2013).

Movement Neo Nostalgis

Neo Nostalgia (Gill Sotu 2016).

Elephant Heart (Extrano). (Gill Sotu 2008)

Elephant Heart Flawed American Male

Flawed American Male (CiXi Digital Records 2010).




"Don't Count Me Out [Official Video from Movement]." Video. YouTube. Posted 11 June 2013. Duration: 04:17.

"H.E.R.O.E.S. The Play [trailer]." Video. YouTube. Posted 8 October 2015. Duration: 02:40.

"Nostalgic Introduction [from Neo Nostalgia]." Video. YouTube. Posted 13 July 2016. Duration: 01:27.

"Ordinary Magic." Video. TEDxSanDiego. YouTube. Posted 23 November 2016. Duration: 11:51.

"Gill Sotu: American Pirate." Audio. Incoming. Host Justin Hudnall. KPBS Radio 5 May 2015.  


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7-8:15 PM

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advocacy journalist JOHN GIBLER

This event is made possible in part by the generosity of WACC, the World Arts and Cultures Committee of Grossmont College.


Journalist, poet, and author John Gibler will present a reading from his latest book release, followed by opportunities for Q&A discussion and book signing. (Copies of John Gibler's books will be available for purchase before and after his reading.)


About the Author

LAF 23 journalist John Gibler

Writing and living in Mexico, author John Gibler writes poetry and journalism-based creative nonfiction through the lens of political history. Gibler’s four English language books from City Lights Press include To Die in Mexico: Dispatches From Inside the Drug War (2011); Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (2015); I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us (2017), selected Best Book of 2017 by Publishers Weekly; and, his latest release, Torn from the World: A Guerrilla's Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico (2018). In addition to Spanish language translations of these works, he has also published a volume of poetry, 20 poemas para ser leídos en una balacera [Twenty Poems to Read while Trapped by Gunfire] (Sur+ 2012), containing Gibler’s highly personal collection of verses and ballads about his experiences living and reporting in Mexico.


A Global Exchange Media Fellow, Gibler uses narrative-based writing to humanize the Mexican struggle on many levels. Sujatha Fernandes, author of Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling, extols Gibler’s powerful recounting of the forced disappearance of Andrés Tzompaxtle Tecpile for "[unearthing] the brutal machinery of state-sanctioned torture and terrorism in Mexico today. It is also a deeply lyrical story of survival against the odds, enabled by communities of resistance and solidarity. This book must provoke an outcry. We cannot know this story and see the world in the same way."


The New Yorker’s Francisco Goldman praises Gibler’s oral history about Ayotzinapa’s students as "a journalistic masterpiece, an instant classic, and the most powerful indictment available of the devastating state crime committed against the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students in Iguala. This meticulous, choral recreation of the events of that night is brilliantly vivid and alive, it will terrify and inspire you and shatter your heart.” Daniel Alarcon hails Gibler’s latest release, Torn from the World, as "harrowing and humane": "John Gibler's wonderful new book shines a light on the darkest corners of the Mexican justice system. We cannot turn away from what we see there. This is a brave, daring book, equal in every way to the extraordinary life it documents."


Gibler and his important work as an investigative journalist have been featured in California Sunday Magazine, NPR's "All Things Considered," and The New Yorker.  He has reported for Left Turn, In These Times, Common Dreams, Yes! Magazine, Colorlines, Democracy Now!, Huffington Post, Sierra, Al Jazeera, Pacifica Radio's KPFA in Mexico, and many others.




Torn from the World: A Guerrilla's Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico (City Lights Press 2018). ISBN: 978-0872867529

Torn from the World Mexico Unconquered

Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt (City Lights Press 2015). ISBN: 978-0872864931

To Die in Mexico: Dispatches from Inside the Drug War (City Lights Press 2010). ISBN: 978-0872865174

To Die in Mexico  Morir en méxico  Morir en méxico: terror de Estado y mercados de la muerte en la guerra contra el narco (La Oveja Roja 2017). ISBN: 978-8416227167

I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us: An Oral History of the Attacks Against the Students of Ayotzinapa (City Lights Press 2017). ISBN: 978-0872867482

I Couldn't Even Imagine That They Would Kill Us Fue el estado

Fue el estado: los ataques contra los estudiantes de Ayotzinapa. (Pepitas del Calabaz 2016). ISBN: 978-8415862666

20 poemas para ser leídos en una balacera (Sur+ 2012).

20 poemas para ser leídos en una balacera Tzompaxtle

Tzompaxtle: La fuga de un guerrillero (Tusquets 2014). ISBN: 978-6074215335

Una historia oral de la infamia (Penguin RandomHouse and Sur+ 2016). ISBN: 978-6073141574

Una historia oral de la infamia Mexico rebelde

Mexico rebelde (Debolsillo Mexico 2013). ISBN: 978-6073113281





Fiorentini, Francesca. "Why Are Students Disappearing In Mexico?"  Interview with John Gibler. [Spanish subtitles.] Al Jazeera. YouTube. Posted 24 October 2014.

Gibler, John."Inside Mexico's Drug War." 48South7th. YouTube. Part One. Posted 16 February 2012. Duration: 28:20.

Part Two. Posted 3 March 2012. Duration: 27:40.

Gibler, John."Investigating Shadiness | Water & Power: A California Heist." National Geographic. YouTube. Posted 14 March 2017. Duration: 02:19.

"John Gibler, To Die in Mexico." BookTV. YouTube. Posted 29 August 2011. Duration: 10:05.



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