“Sandra Cisneros is a sellout!” were the words I heard at a conference in the
It’s been almost 10 years since I heard those words and it has taken me ten years to ponder them.
It is true, that Sandra Cisneros is one of our divas of Chicano(a) literature. Though they quarreled (or was it their agents), even Ilan Stavans said she’s achieved “divas status.”
But there are many reasons we are to appreciate her more than in anytime in the Chicano(a) Renaissance. I’ll go into that later.
I read several blogs over the last few months that took me back to this topic. The topic is an old one, rusting at the sides of every Chicano(a) writers and literature scholar since the dawn of our renaissance.
The old saying is “not many writers are being published by the major book publishers.” It’s a soulful mourn by a literature genre yearning for an audience. Most people, when they say that, are referring to the
About ten years ago, on the old Chiclit listserv, I said, that not many Chicano(a) writers have made it into the mainstream. That baited a rhetorical question from the late Octavio Romano: “While what is mainstream?”
Looking at the whiteman’s dictionary, Webster is defines “mainstream” as: “a prevailing current or direction of activity or influence.”
But in all writers and critics, there is some sense, many times self defined, on what is the “mainstream.”
So that begs the question, do we begin to hate writers once they’ve “made it.”
The Struggling Writer and American Phenomenon
I am a big fan of the struggling writer. I can speak for other critics. I very often look for self-published books or books from small presses to review and spotlight.
This comes from my fondness for the older renaissance writers like Lalo Delgado, whom I was very close to. The self-publishing master grew into a legend with only one time getting a book published in a place outside of a day’s drive of his house. Yet, he became a legend.
Some of it comes from my distaste for the saturation of the big media which is now in the hands of five big corporations. We’ll write more about that later.
I see many of these writers today following in the footsteps of now prominent Chicano(a) writers. When Sandra came to
Revoluncionarias: One of my favorite picture books
I first bought this book in
Las Soldaderas: Life Blood of the Revolution
Cinco Puntos Press is proud to present the English edition of a remarkable collaboration between