"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, August 29, 2005

Latino imprints, separate, but equal?

It seems in the last few years since Ricky Martin made "la vida loca" enter the realm of "uncoolness," the Latino "thing" has engulfed the media of the US. I'm not talking about our Latino brothers and sisters, I'm talking about the "Latino" 'thang' the news media, publishers, music industry, and others have been using a a marketing tool. It was like they discovered that Latinos and Chicano living in the U.S. could make music. Hey vatos, take a long look back: Willie G., the Midnighters, Lalo Guerrero, Santiago Jimenez, Los Cruzados, etc. With this came the "Latino Imprints."

I've taking this with a grain of salt because I think they have their goods and their bads. The first thing when observing this is to ask ourselves what our people are really reading. If you read Carlos Cumpian's much publicized article on Chicano poetry, we do know that it is mostly whites reading our work. And that's not bad. We welcome the white brothers and sisters. The only problem is when our own people our not reading our work. Even those who identify as "Chicano" (I'm not talking about the scholars, writers, poetas, etc.) are not reading our work. Sometimes they know of early Chicano writers like Alurista and Luis Valdez, but beyond that they don't know.

Some imprints have been putting out stuff in Spanish, mostly self-help books. From Dr. Phill to Dr. Laura on how to keep your husband happy. I'm not to thrilled about all of those books, but if our people are reading them, then go for it. But if not, umh.....

Second, are imprints separate but equal? Are our Chicano writers who have been published with the main flagship publisher now going to be shewed away to the imprint. Separate???? Equal???? I'm wondering if this has happened to some of our recent big wigs. Some of our big wigs have also began publishing with the small presses. What's happening?

Then again, some of these imprints are able to print huge amounts of these books and often release the book with a Spanish translation. This will probably help open up Chicano Literature to the rest of Latin America, something we have been unable to do. The question is are they being read or put into the incinerator.

Are the imprints shewing away good Chicana writers to go for the next "Latina" getting her grove back?

Are we at the point that the book industry is just looking for 1-hit wonders like in the music industry or reality television and then go onto the next. That once 1-hit wonder is left to disappear into the moor.

Take a thought on that....

The link I share with you is:

Teatro Izcalli Sin Verguenza

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