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

Octavio Romano

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NEW CHICANO AND LATINO BOOKS IN 2010: Summer Issue of "Libros, Libros" IS OUT!


Over 50 pages of new and forthcoming books by/on Chicano(a) and Latino(a)s


IN JUNE 2010

Hispanics in the United States: A Demographic, Social, and Economic History, 1980-2005
(Cambridge University Press; 1 edition June 2010 ISBN-10: 0521718104)
Laird W. Bergad (Author), Herbert S. Klein (Author)

In 1980 the U.S. government began to systematically collect data on Hispanics. By 2005 the Latino population of the United States had become the nation's largest minority and is projected to comprise about one-third of the total U.S. population in 2050. Utilizing census data and other statistical source materials, this book examines the transformations in the demographic, social, and economic structures of Latino-Americans in the United States between 1980 and 2005. 

Unlike most other studies, this book presents data on transformations over time, rather than a static portrait of specific topics at particular moments. Latino-Americans are examined over this twenty-five year period in terms of their demographic structures, changing patterns of wealth and poverty, educational attainment, citizenship and voter participation, occupational structures, employment, and unemployment. The result is a detailed socioeconomic portrait by region and over time that indicates the basic patterns that have lead to the formation of a complex national minority group that has become central to U.S. society.

Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement 
(New Concepts in Latino American Cultures)(Palgrave Macmillan June 22, 2010 ISBN-10: 0230620655)
Vanessa Perez Rosario (Editor)

A collection of thirteen chapters that explores the literary tradition of Caribbean Latino literature written in the U.S. beginning with José Martí and concluding with 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Junot Díaz. The essays in this collection reveal the multiple ways that writers of this tradition use their unique positioning as both insiders and outsiders to critique U.S. hegemonic discourses while simultaneously interrogating national discourses in their home countries. The chapters consider the way that spatial migration in literature serves as a metaphor for gender, sexuality, racial, identity, linguistic and national migrations.

The Global Grapevine: Why Rumors of Terrorism, Immigration, and Trade Matter 
(June 10, 2010)
Gary Alan Fine and Bill Ellis

Soon after 9/11, wild rumors began to spread: that Arab-Americans were celebrating publicly, that some people had been warned, that politicians knew all along. 

The Global Grapevine reveals how--through our everyday thoughts and conversations, and the rumors we spread--we grapple with the new global world. Drawn from diverse sources, the book illuminates urban legends like the claim that a certain t-shirt with a Chinese pictogram brands the wearer as a prostitute, conspiracy theories such as the "9/11 Truth Movement," or stories of tourists infected with AIDS by locals. 

These rumors, the authors argue, reflect our anxieties and fears about contact with foreign cultures--how we believe foreign competition to be poisoning the domestic economy and foreign immigration to be eroding American values. 

Focusing on the threat posed by terrorism, the impact of immigration, the risks involved in international trade, and the dangers faced by naive tourism, the book provides a broad survey of the most widely circulated rumors and examines what these tales reveal about contemporary society.

Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook 
(Columbia University Press June 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0231148186)
Claudio Iván Remeseira (Editor)
Over the past few decades, a huge wave of immigration has turned New York into a microcosm of the Americas and enhanced its role as the crossroads of the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds. 

Yet far from being an alien group within a "mainstream" and supposedly pure "Anglo" America, people referred to as Hispanics or Latinos have been part and parcel of New York since the beginning of the city's history. 

They represent what Walt Whitman once celebrated as "the Spanish element of our nationality." Hispanic New York is the first anthology to offer a comprehensive view of this multifaceted heritage. Combining familiar materials with other selections that are either out of print or not easily accessible, Claudio Ivan Remeseira makes a compelling case for New York as a paradigm of the country's Latinoization. 

His anthology mixes primary sources with scholarly and journalistic essays on history, demography, racial and ethnic studies, music, art history, literature, linguistics, and religion, and the authors range from historical figures, such as Jose Marti, Bernardo Vega, or Whitman himself, to contemporary writers, such as Paul Berman, Ed Morales, Virginia Sanchez Korrol, Roberto Suro, and Ana Celia Zentella. 

This unique volume treats the reader to both the New York and the American experience, as reflected and transformed by its Hispanic and Latino components.

The Mexican Filmography, 1916 Through 2001 
McFarland & Company 
June 6, 2010 ISBN-10: 0786461225
David E. Wilt 

Mexican cinema has largely been overlooked by international film scholars because of a lack of English-language information and the fact that Spanish-language information was difficult to find and often out of date. 

This comprehensive filmography helps fill the need for a single source for basic information on Mexican films. Arranged by year of release and then by title, the filmography contains entries that include basic information (film and translated title, production company, genre, director, cast), a plot summary, and additional information about the film. 

To be included, a film must meet the following criteria: it must be a Mexican production or co-production, feature length (one hour or more, although exceptions are made for silent films), fictional (documentaries and compilation films are not included unless the topic relates to Mexican cinema; some docudramas and films with recreated or staged scenes are included), and theatrically released or intended for theatrical release.

The Mexican League / La Liga Mexicana: Comprehensive Player Statistics, 1937-2001 Bilingual Edition / Estadisticas Comprensivas De Los Jugadores, 1937-2001 Edicion Bilingue
(McFarland & Company; Bilingual edition June 6, 2010 ISBN-10: 0786461209) 
Pedro Treto Cisneros

While there is dispute among scholars as to where and when the first game of baseball was played in Mexico, there is no doubt that the game is as popular there as it is in America. The popularity of the sport led to the establishment of the Professional Mexican Baseball League in 1925, which continues today.

This text opens with a brief history of Mexican professional baseball and provides, in both English and Spanish, statistical information on the players of the Mexican Baseball League since 1937 (the first year in which the league kept official records). 

Individual batting statistics for each player and pitching statistics for each pitcher are provided, along with tables listing rookie of the year, no hit games, perfect games, triple crown winners and consecutive games, team champions, individual batting champions, individual pitching champions, winning percentage, earned runs, the best batters in each category (runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, etc.), all-time individual batting leaders, the best pitchers in each category (innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, etc.), and all-time individual pitching leaders. 

Members of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame are also listed, as are the competitors and results for Mexican League All-Star games. An appendix provides statistics for 85 Mexicans who have played in the Major Leagues.

Leading Them to the Promised Land: Woodrow Wilson, Covenant Theology, and the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1915  
(New Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations) 
(Kent State University Press June 30, 2010 ISBN-10: 1606350250)
Mark Benbow

 How Wilson's religious heritage shaped his response to the Mexican Revolution? The First Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates that government and religious institutions remain separate and independent of each other. 

Yet, the influence of religion on American leaders and their political decisions cannot be refuted. "Leading Them to the Promised Land" is the first book to look at how Presbyterian Covenant Theology affected U.S. president Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy during the Mexican Revolution. 

The son of a prominent southern minister, Wilson was a devout Presbyterian. Throughout his life he displayed a strong conviction that covenants, or formal promises made binding by an oath to God, should be the basis for human relationships, including those between government and public organizations. 

This belief is demonstrated in Wilson's attempt to bring peaceful order to the world with the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations. Through careful investigation of Wilson's writings and correspondence, along with other contemporary sources, author Mark Benbow shows how Wilson's religious heritage shaped his worldview, including his assumption that nations should come together in a covenant to form a unitary whole like the United States. 

As a result, Wilson attempted to nurture a democratic state in revolutionary Mexico when rivals Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa threatened U.S. interests. His efforts demonstrate the difficulty a leader has in reconciling his personal religious beliefs with his nation's needs. 

"Leading Them to the Promised Land" adds to the growing body of scholarship in international history that examines the connections between religion and diplomacy. It will appeal to readers interested in the history of U.S. foreign relations and the influence of religion on international politics.

Without History: Subaltern Studies, the Zapatista Insurgency, and the Specter of History 
(Pitt Illuminations)
(Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition June 28, 2010 ISBN-10: 0822960656)
Jose Rabasa. 

On December 22, 1997, forty-five unarmed members of the indigenous organization Las Abejas (The Bees) were massacred during a prayer meeting in the village of Acteal, Mexico. 

The members of Las Abejas, who are pacifists, pledged their support to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a primarily indigenous group that has declared war on the state of Mexico. 

The massacre has been attributed to a paramilitary group composed of ordinary citizens acting on their own, although eyewitnesses claim the attack was planned ahead of time and that the Mexican government was complicit.

In Without History, José Rabasa contrasts indigenous accounts of the Acteal massacre and other events with state attempts to frame the past, control subaltern populations, and legitimatize its own authority. 

Rabasa offers new interpretations of the meaning of history from indigenous perspectives and develops the concept of a communal temporality that is not limited by time, but rather exists within the individual, community, and culture as a living knowledge that links both past and present.

Due to a disconnection between indigenous and state accounts as well as the lack of archival materials (many of which were destroyed by missionaries), the indigenous remain outside of, or without, history, according to most of Western discourse. 

The continued practice of redefining native history perpetuates the subalternization of that history, and maintains the specter of fabrication over reality.

Rabasa recalls the works of Marx, Lenin, and Gramsci, as well as contemporary south Asian subalternists Ranajit Guha and Dipesh Chakrabarty, among others. 

He incorporates their conceptions of communality, insurgency, resistance to hegemonic governments, and the creation of autonomous spaces as strategies employed by indigenous groups around the globe, but goes further in defining these strategies as millennial and deeply rooted in Mesoamerican antiquity. 

For Rabasa, these methods and the continuum of ancient indigenous consciousness are evidenced in present day events such as the Zapatista insurrection.

Mexican Community Health and the Politics of Health Reform 
(University of New Mexico Press June 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0826348866)
Suzanne D. Schneider 

The struggle of Mexicans to secure quality health care is the focal point of this study. Large-scale transformations in Mexico's national health care system have resulted in budget cuts, increased user fees and decreased public services. 

At the local level community-based health groups that practice popular medicine are addressing the challenge by training health promoters in a variety of preventive and healing practices and offering low-cost services in community clinics. 

Their health care approach integrates local and global practices ranging from Mexican herbalism to Chinese medicine. Suzanne Schneider's ethnographic study of grassroots health groups in Morelos, Mexico, addresses the lives of the participants and the groups' contributions to community health. 

What draws women to these groups? Are they reacting to their experiences with formal health care? To what extent are the groups' teachings applied in the household and accepted throughout the community? Does group participation offer women new sources of empowerment or avenues to income generation? Does the government support these groups? How do they fit into larger trends of health care reform and the shift toward privatization? 

Taking a political economic approach, Schneider examines the conditions under which community-based health groups are emerging and explores the ways different constituencies address health dilemmas. She delineates future roles for new participants in health care, new models of community health, and a new medical pluralism.


The link we share with you today is: http://www.opensecrets.org

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Publishers Announce Moratorium on New Book Submissions

AP Associated Pest

Book Publishers Announce Moratorium on New Book Submissions

By Raymundo Eli Rojas
Published: June 16, 2010

NEW YORK - The Publishers, Editors, and Editor of Text Organization announced today that they will cease accepting new book proposals beginning December 21, 2010.

In a press conference in New York City, various publishing houses gathered to disseminate what is thought to be tiding of bad news to poets and writers. The moratorium on accepting new book proposals is expected to last two years.

“Because it takes about two years for us to review a book proposal, negotiate the contract with the author, go through edits, and more,” says Juan Leer, president of the The Publishers, Editors, Editors of Text Organization, better known as PEETO, “we have decided to have the moratorium to last two years until December 2012."

More specifically, Leer cited Dec. 21, 2010. PEETO has based its decision on the fact that the world will be ending on December 21, 2012.

“No mames,” says Chicano novelist Ray Llenos upon hearing the news. Llenos recently submitted his post-transcendental neo-dystopian novel proposal to a major university press and it was returned to him unopened.

“I knew something was up,” says Llenos, an public defender by day, “when all the White people in my office kept playing Hank Williams, Jr.'s 'A Country Boy Can Survive' over and over again on their IPods.”

“We see no reason for publishing new books,” says Leer, “if no one will be around to read them. It's the end of the world as we know it, but I feel fine.”

PEETO has based their decision on the Second Mayan Calender that predicts the end of the world will be on Dec. 21, 2012.

However, several scholars question the PEETO's recent announcement regarding their refusal to accept new book submissions pending the Apocalypse.

Jerry Curls, a professor of post-Apocalyptic Studies at the University of New Mexico at Orogrande thinks the research PEETO is basing their decision on, is very flimsy to say the least. Curls says, “We think there will be some survivors, we just don't yet know the literacy levels Post-Apocalyptic society.”

Curls is referring to several studies in which post-Apocalyptic scenarios were run at various university labs across the country, all with differing results.

“We looked into punk mohawked, leather-bondage gear-wearing marauding motorcycle gangs and looked at their propensity to read,” continues Curls.

Although no post apocalyptic gangs exist today, scientist thought they would be able to study the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco and Judas Priest's Rob Halford to provide some incite to what we may expect from post-Apocalyptic society, but in the end settled for a computer model.

Above, relation between literacy and leather bondage gear, unknown
“However,” says Curls, “we found post-Apocalyptic gangs more interested in blowing up oil refineries and playing gladiatorial games to Tina Turner songs, so we knew they were not an option.”

But Curl says the second study was more promising.

“In the second scenario, we focused on the literacy levels of post-apocalyptic zombies.”

What they found shocked the researchers.

Zombies were tested on how they progressed into their zombiatic state. Zombies who became zombie due to some viral pandemic were shown to have limited book appreciation -- much like people today.

However, zombies, who became zombies postmortem, showed considerable interest in the writing of Samuel Huntington and Ronald Reagan's second inaugural address.
Above, Postmortem Zombie preferred Ronald Reagan Speeches

“For this study,” says Curls, “we had to find a population as close to post-Apocalyptic zombies as possible, because, obviously, zombies do not exist today.”

One population they looked to that had similar characteristics was the Ka' Pacho population. “We were lucky to find them,” says Curls, “This population has shown zombie-like characteristics in that they move into land belonging to someone else, and then, claim it as their own  attacking everyone in the process.”

“Ka'Pachos,” continues Curls, “seem to think that they are the indigenous to what ever land they occupy thus resulting to mob attacks, lynching, cannibalism, and more.”

But more pressing research is needed into the Ka'Pachos tendency to gather in large groups and attack people, especially people of color.

“Although several members of the Texas Board of Education are Ka'Pachos, for this study, our research team focused on the Ka'Pacho people of Arizona,” says Curls. “We think they hold similar characteristics to post-Apocalyptic zombies.”

Above, a Arizona Ka'Pacho, hold similar characteristics to post-Apocalyptic zombies

Ka'Pachos barely arrived in what is now Arizona in 1848, and almost immediately, they began showing zombie-like traits.

In another study, out of East West Texas State, the literacy levels and amount of reading were tested on post-Apocalyptic apes.

“These tests did not work so well,” says Curls, “the damn dirty apes kept blowing up their books. We even gave them Cormac McCarthy's The Road and those maniacs! They blew it up! Goddam them all to hell!”

The questions remains whether humans do survive the Apocalypse, what will be the role of writers and publishers in the post-Apocalyptic world?

“If authors survive the Apocalypse,” says Leer, “we encourage authors to send their book proposals after Dec. 21, 2012, but don't press your luck. You (authors) don't believe we're on the eve of destruction?”

Leer described publishers would only publish limited copies of a writer's book due to the smaller population that will exist after Dec. 21, 2012. However, the good news is these books may become collectors items, and those owning them may be pursued by book-loving marauding post-Apocalyptic thugs and goons.

Above, author travels Post-Apocalyptic Americas to sell book

“Authors will have to take to the road,” says Leer, “and travel the country to sell their books or fight off angry critics."

Past Coverage

  • McMcarthy not really from the border (October 16, 2003)
  • Chicano writers ecstatic about new ethnic studies ban in Arizona (May 19, 2010)
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Lunes con Lalo: 7-16-79, Mi Mexico, No Tengo Papeles; Dagoberto Gilb Rumpus; Pat Mora, Octavio Solis, Tatiana de la Tierra



yo ya me voy
Begins a famous Chicano song,
"La Barca de Oro" to be exact.
It talks of farewells.
It is about saying goodbye
to the one you love.
It is a sad, beer song.
So it is that good byes
Willingly or unwillingly
Must be said
To all we love,
to all who love us.
Adios, what an accurate word.
It is Chicano for good bye.
It is as if God does
Collect all things
And we properly send them back to Him.

Updating this verso some seven years later, I am much more in tune to the idea of saying good bye. My 55th birthday is a few days away. I was surprised by a doctor saying I was diabetic and that I needed to go on a diet and start taking insulin tablets, maybe even injections.

I have always enjoyed a very strong love of life. Saying an adios to life itself is going to be extremely hard for me. Yet, I know I am now as ready as I will ever be.
I cannot honestly call it a good bye in terms of my wife, children, and grandchildren. they are an extension of me. They will live for me.
I squeeze as much joy into each minutes and hour of my life. I do not panic because I am vulnerable as all of us humans. Saying good bye to love is not so hard because love is a boomerang which does return to the sender, always.
Who knows, with diets and pills, I may live to be 106.
                                    --- Lalo Delgado
--------                                                 ________________


Thinking about it brings me a chill,
thinking that out of my own free will
I have lost the right 
to call you,
--- mi Mexico ---

I am now a foreigner
to my native soil.
Today I watch a parade commemorating
Mexico's independence.

I hear the doubling of the drums
and the wailing 
of the bugles
And I feel my
accelerate like a race-car.

My eyes fill with salty water
from the sea,
maybe lagrimas
the eternal
of my true origin.

I feel like a man loving two women,
the blue skirted one
and the one with the green blouse.

I make my sense of loyalty
much stronger
by breaking it.

I watch the eagle and the serpent
upon the nopal,
the same eagle
dropped the snake
to pick up the spears
and olive branches
and became 
a U.S. symbol.

The tanned olive in my skin
keep insisting
---You're still a Mexican ---

Are there really two different lands
claiming my heart
or is my heart
claiming two nationalities
or do I have two personalities?
----- Lalo Delgado


Mis hermanos chicanos
me desconocen y me insultan,
no me abajan de
--- pinche mojado
muerto de hambre.----

Tengo miedo, tengo frió,
lo que no tengo es papeles.

Busco por aca
lo que en mi patria no hay
por tanta explotación americana.

Por tonto que me crean
yo entiendo de economía,
tengo la razón
            pero no tengo papeles.

Me hechan a mi la culpa
por tanta gente sin trabajo
y por los sueldos bajos
y por que la economía
anda por el suelo.

Yo no tengo la culpa ni papeles.

La migra, ah, la migra,
es brazo elástico
del ranchero ventajoso,
de un gobierno conveniencero,
es el mismo que deje en México.

La migra rompe mi cabeza
y me asesina diciendo
que solo fue un accidente.

Todos se lo creen,
yo no tengo la razón
pero no tengo papeles.

Lo poco que gano a veces me alcanza
pa' mandarles un quiotro dólar
a los que deje atrás
pero no las veo llegar,
tengo una familia tan grande,
no tengo papeles.

Sí, es verdad,
la tristeza por estos rumbos
y ese idioma de los perros
es inaguantable y a veces me emborracho y me enamoro,
tengo corazón,
no tengo papeles.

Ni casa tengo, mis patrones
me hacen el gran favor
de dejarme dormir en un gallinero,
se los agradecso,
no tengo papeles.

Nací sin papales
crecí sin a papales,
yo se quien soy, soy mexicano.

Pido trabajo, no pido limosna.

Hay otros aquí sin papeles
ya a ellos nadie los molesta
por que están güeros.

Si, mi espalda esta mojada
pero de sudor, mis huevos también.

No tengo papeles,
no tengo papeles.

enero '74

“7-16-79” © 1979 Abelardo Delgado
Mi Mexico” © Abelardo Delgado
No Tendo Papeles” © Abelardo Delgado

Published with persmision of Dolores Delgado and the Delgado Family


Dagoberto Gilb's Rumpus

The Rumpus posted a post on Dagoberto Gilb's story "Uncle Rock." Wow, this story is still getting allocates!  The Rumpus states, "In the May 10th issue, Dagoberto Gilb’s “Uncle Rock” caught me off guard," READ MORE.

However, Vheissu's review gives the opposite opinion: "Dagoberto Gilb’s “Uncle Rock” (TNY, May 10, 2010) goes nowhere. Yes, you can fish out tiny specks that, stringed together, show that the main character is changing. But the story’s three short pages require much more patience than they should." READ MORE.

The University of Houston-Victoria American Book Review has four new associate editors from prestigious academic settings across the country to further the internationally distributed literary journal’s goal of being the top source for opinion on literary innovation.  One of them is our own Dagoberto Gilb. READ MORE.

The Creation of Raymond Paredes

Paredes has been in the news regarding creationist who want to create a masters in creationist science. Here are several stories:

Texas judge rejects creationist master's degree

Court Smacks Down Creationist Institute Suit « Texas Freedom Network

A Bible-based science degree? Even Texas wouldn't swallow that ...

Judge Sam Sparks Ruling in ICR v. Texas Higher Ed Coordinating Board

Paredes is also mentioned in the San Antonio-Express News in the article "Higher education faces fiscal woes": 

With a projected budget shortfall of $18 billion looming over the state, higher education will likely take a financial beating in the next legislative session and it could not come at a worse time." READ MORE.


Tatiana de la Tierra's Gift

Check out UTEP MFA alumna Tatiana's post on La Bloga:
The Gift: When I Found Out My Daughter was a Lesbian.

El día de las madres ya pasó, pero me quedé pensando en las madres y las hijas que no lo celebraron: en la madre a quien la intolerancia selló su corazón con dolor y en la hija que ...READ MORE.


Magical Realism Made Graphic


Democracy Guest List posted a small post on El Paso's Cinco Puntos Press’ new full-color comic Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush by Luis Alberto Urrea. Check it out.

Illustrator of Pat Mora's book wins Belpré Medal

Given annually, the Pura Belpré Medal is awarded to a Latino writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. The award is known worldwide for the high quality it represents and serves as a guideline for educators, parents and bookstores for the best of the best in Latino-themed children’s literature.

John Parra, illustrator of “Gracias. Thanks,” written by El Paso native Pat Mora and published by Lee & Low Books Inc. will be honored. READ MORE.

Octavio Solis' "Lydia"

Octovio Solis play "Lydia" will be featured at the New Play Summit in Denver, Colorado.

from Vermont Public Radio

"Lydia was one of three world premieres at this year's New Play Summit, a conference that Thompson started as a way to showcase readings and full productions of new work. Critics raved about the play, which tells the story of a dysfunctional Mexican-American family in El Paso, Texas. One reviewer compared playwright Solis to Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller; another called Lydia a story "filled with mystery and magic."
 The link we share with you today is: Textbook Repression: US Training Manuals Declassified
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Korean War and Chicano Literature

Chicano Literature and the Forgotten War
60 years ago today
the Korean War began

"What made made you want to move from Kansas to El Paso?"
"After being in Korean, I never wanted to live in the cold again."
                                                            - quote from one of my friends

 The Vietnam War surge in Chicano Lit
In the last 1990s, there was an explosion of books by Chicano(a) authors dealing with the Vietnam War. From Charley Trujillo's Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam and Dogs of Illusion, to Alfredo Vea, Jr.'s The Gods Go Begging, Stella Pope Duarte's Let Their Spirits Dance, Diego Vasquez, Jr.'s Growing through the Ugly, House with Two Doors by Ricardo Pimentel, Humidity Moon: Short Stories of the Vietnam War by Michael W. Rodríguez; Shifting Loyalties by Daniel Cano, Six Silent Men by  Rynell Martínez, A Patriot After All by Juan Ramirez among others.

I even published a paper in Dialogos about the Vietnam War and Chicano(a) Literature focusing on all the different genres of literature (poetry, short stories, teatro).

And these were novels, there are a host of short stories  and teatro that involve the war. Jorge Mariscal also put out a book Aztlan and Vietnam which analyzes various Chicano writing on the war.

Writers focused on the Vietnam War before and after the late 1990s, but the proliferation of publishing in those five years was tremendous.

The glut on this topic may result from the Chicano Movement occurring during the Vietnam War and many veterans and family members, by the late 1990s, were ready to talk about the war.

Chicano Writing and Korea: Lacking

Because the Korean War falls before the Chicano(a) Renaissance in literature, Chicano(a) writers have focused very little this war in our literature.

So just off the top of my head, I'll try describe some book I recall that focus on the Korean War. As the 60th Anniversary of the start of the war is today, it's time our stories on this era come out.

Raul Morin
Like Charley Trujillo's book Soldados, publishers would not pick up Among the Valiant (Trujillo's book became an award-winning one). Morin pieced together many stories of Chicano veterans and medal winner into this heroic collection of narratives. 

After he could not find a publisher, the American G.I. Forum pitched in to assist him to publish the book. The Morin family was trying to get the book republished some years ago. I'm not sure how it turned out.

Pillars of Gold and Silver by Beatriz de la Gárza focuses on a mother and daughter in the aftermath of their father's death in the Korean War. I have not read the book. A late 1990s Arte Publico publication, the review I've found online are not very flattering.

The only book I know that gives a total Chicano focus on the Korean War is The Useless Servants by Rolando Hinojosa. Part of his Rafe Buenrostro series, below if the review from Publishers Weekly:

"The timeless truths of war -- the slaughter of civilians, atrocities condoned, legions of refugees -- are related with near-documentary realism in this powerful novel of the Korean War. 
Told in the form of a journal kept by Rafe Buenrostro, a Mexican-American soldier from Texas, it also portrays the social dynamics of this particular conflict. 
Through his protagonist's voice, Hinojosa ( Rites and Witnesses ; Partners in Crime ) draws on his own experience in Korea to reveal the racism that Mexican-Americans faced from fellow soldiers. 

Buenrostro's tense, fragmentary diary entries expose combat's seamy underside: black troops kept in segregated units (though they would later fight alongside whites); thousands of Korean civilians shot to death in unacknowledged barbarism; Marines massacred after being issued old, inaccurate survey maps; napalm and fragmentation bombs giving an eerie foretaste of Vietnam. 

As the corpses pile up, those left standing begin to fear they will go crazy: one lieutenant does snap, committing suicide. Though his diary entries preclude developing a plot in the conventional sense, Hinojosa gives us a graphic picture of the unchanging face of war--raw, gritty and inhumane."

One of the most interesting books on the Korean War and Chicanos falls into the Literatura chicaniesca catagory.

Bilingual Press, 1989 (republished)

The story focuses on a Chicano draft dodger and paints the Korean War as imperialistic and profit driven.  Kahn was an expat in Mexico and was blacklisted in the U.S. and fled to Mexico because he refused to testify before the Committee on UnAmerican Activities: 
Set during the Korean War and McCarthy eras, this novel tells the story of Gilberto, a young Mexican American who, after his mother's death on the eve of his induction into the U.S. Army, decides instead to leave the country and travel into Mexico to find his only remaining family. Gordon Kahn (1902-1962) was an important Hollywood screenwriter until he was blacklisted for his independent political opinions. - Publisher Description

If you know of any other books by Chicana(o)s on the Korean War or the Korean War plays a part, send us a comment.

Korean El Paso

For El Paso, the Korean War is important. After the war, the Korean population in El Paso began to grow. Many soldiers brought back war brides, and many soldiers still marry Korean women and bring them to El Paso and subsequently decide to settle here. 

Any drive to the northeast side of town, one can see the English-Korean translations on signs, the Asian supermarkets, and more.. The Korean shop owners of Downtown are a powerful lobby and one of the most vocal against the landgrab of Downtown and the Segundo Barrio. There are three Korean protestant churches. Check out this article by David Romo which was published on The Newpaper Tree: Voices of Dissent: Little Seoul in El Paso.

Also check out the entry for "Koreans" in the Texas Handbook Online. According to the ALA, Korean is the fifth most spoken language in El Paso County after Spanish, English, Chinese, and German.

Well, I'm off to Ruidoso, NM for the weekend. Have a good one...

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chapbooks losing their chapyness? Part III; New Chicano Titles in June; updates on Octavio Solis, Ben Saenz, Houston School

Are chapbooks losing their chapyness, part III
Chapbooks and Self Publication

by Raymundo Eli Rojas


One thing that is great about Chicana(o) writers is that we don't need to wait around for others to publish us.

I tell young writers who are concerned that they have not published a book -- not even a chapbook -- not to wait around for others to publish you.

Master of Self-Publication

My favorite poet was Lalo Delgado. Lalo printed one book with someone else. Everything else was pretty much self-published. Now, I may be wrong. When I made a bibliography of Lalo's writings for him, he remarked a la Ricardo Sanchez, “faltaste papel?”

If any of you were blessed to hear Lalo read, he always carried around this black box-briefcase that he would open right after readings and lay out this chapbooks to sell.

Nevertheless, many a poet has gone to their graves with publications in hot university presses and New York presses, yet, they remain unknown to their gente.

There is  a drawback

There is a drawback, carnales y carnalas. With much of Lalo's work, the small printings that were done, the books are in the hands of collectors and maybe a few libraries. In doing critical analysis, it is difficult to find his works.

Publishing big helps us bring our words to our gente. Shit, I just contradicted myself. Well, let's put it this way: not many of us have the reputation Lalo Delgado, much less the personality or panza. All we have to rely on our writings, so God help us.

By publishing with big New York presses y lo de mas, we are breaking barriers. Remember, as I said in the last two installments, there was a time when New York was not publishing us, much less university presses. So put yourself out there.

But before that big book contract arrives (and why not after), don't be afraid to put out a chapbook. Enter a chapbook contest or use your own funds to publish a chapbook.

Plenty of years ahead for world-wide and historical recognition

I know what you thinking, “oh but if I publish a chapbook, my 'first' book won't be critically acclaimed."

Don't worry. Especially for you young writers -- you have plenty of time.

Let's do the math:

Say you are a 25 year old writer, and most Noble Laureates in Literature are over age 60 when they win the prize (I pulled that age out of my ass, don't quote me on it).  If you are male, you can expect to live to 81.5. That's 56 years more to win the Nobel. 

If you are a women, it's even longer. If you are a Rojas women (avg. life expectancy 100), even longer. If you are somewhere in between the genders, sorry I can't help you with the life expectancy. Blame the government.

I remember when....I knew her when...

Aside from making Chicano(a) Literature survive, aside from being economical, aside from being a form of rebellion, the chapbook often gives (forgive the cliché) a portrait of an artist as a young (wo)man.

People want to see how you were writing before that Pulitzer came, before New York came calling, before your agent responds to your email for you.

Another reason to self publish, is today's grassroots publishers become tomorrow elitist publisher, getting published gets stickier and stickier. Selection committees are filled with conflicts of interest, sanchos, carnales and more. Who you know is a big factor just as writing good shit is a big factor.

Now, I'm not dissing my carnalas and carnales who have become successful (read Sandra Cisneros is a Sellout!: Our Love Hate Relationship with Successful Chicano(a) Authors). But it seems the more educated I've become, the more I miss that old time rock n' roll. I've become more critical. I miss when I was less critical. The older older we get, aside from  Metamucil, the more we dislike shit. 

The more critical I've become, I may have become one of those elitist writers (I've become elitist, I'm still waiting for the success to come my way). Hold on, let me take a sip of my wine and eat my cheese...

So what do I tell young writers -- publish yourself, but also send out your stuff.

It's not to say that you should publish crap. The last thing we want is crapbooks! Select some of your best stuff or have a more veteran writer help you select your best stuff. Go see a printer, and publish yourself.

Now for veterano writers, especially those with money: It is nice to see a veterano writer publish a chapbook now and then. I think Ana Castillo just put one out. It's nice to see that she returns to the grassroots publication mode. Now I'm not in favor of the $40 dollar chapbook, but why not. 

Take your seat in your office, take a peak at the Pulitzer and the Nobel medal on the mantel, and for grassroots sake, write out a chapbook.

Only remember, if you are going to publish a chapbook, publish a chapbook. Don't publish a book! Keep in simple. Remember, “chap” is derived fro cheap. Keep your chapbooks them chaparito. Use you at-home printer. If you have a few bucks, see a local printer. They can run a few hundred for you or more. Print on demand. If you run out, order or print some more.

In this way, you will always have something to sell at your readings, and who knows, that chapbook may become a collectors item someday.

Everywritersresource.com's list of Chapbook publishers. Read the list.


(University of Arizona Press (June 13, 2009ISBN 978-0-8165-2917-9)
Luis Urrieta Jr.. 

Combining approaches from anthropology and cultural studies, this book examines how issues of identity, agency, and social movements shape the lives of Chicana and Chicano activist educators in U.S. Schools. Luis Urrieta Jr. skillfully utilizes the cultural concepts of positioning, figured worlds, and self-authorship, along with Chicano Studies and Chicana feminist frameworks, to tell the story of twenty-four Mexican Americans who have successfully navigated school systems as students and later as activist educators.

(St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books, June 2010 ISBN: 978-0-312-59308-7)
M. Padilla. 

Inspired by their good-natured rivalry, career-oriented best friends Julia Juarez and Ime Benevides have never let anything come between them. Then enters Julia's new coworker, Ilario, who pulls both women's heartstrings, disrupts their friendship, and brings Julia's career to the brink of disaster. 

Looking for support, Julia turns to her other friends: Concepción, a party-obsessed dance instructor; Nina, a timid but shrewd seamstress who's not too taken with her fiancé; and Marta, owner of the Revolutionary Cantina, who is preoccupied with the details of a Hollywood murder case. 

When they involve Julia in a risky scheme, she must choose between her loyalty to her friends and a chance to live the life she's worked so hard to achieve. Boasting irreverent, edgy humor and a clear sense of Southern Californian culture, this hilarious, insightful debut novel by award-winning author M. Padilla brilliantly captures the comforts and dangers of friendship. http://us.macmillan.com/thegirlsfromtherevolutionarycantina

(LSU Press; 2010, $17.95)
 J. Michael Martinez

Martinez, winner of the 2009 Walt Whitman Award (selected by Juan Felipe Herrera) surgically dissects Chicanismo into three sections; Etymology, Corporeity and Archetype, each which translates into an authentic and more modern examination of the mental and physical existence of Chicano identity. In the poem sub-titled, To Possess Identity, Difference Must Be Gathered, Martinez writes, “I said. I am Mexican, next I can be a Chicano, she with the hole at the end of identity.


Saenz meditates

Check out this post on PBS New Hour's Art Beat. CLICK HERE. It has Ben Saenz reading from his poem "Last Meditation on Living in the Desert":

"I want everyone who comes to my funeral to keep repeating
Goddamnit it's hot.  This will make me smile."  -- Benjamin A. Saenz

Thanks to Rich Yanez for sharing this post on the the Kentucky Club in Cd. Juarez with quotes from Ben Saenz:

Drug cartel violence may doom famed Kentucky Club, Ciudad Juárez institution since prohibition

Interview with Octavio Solis

Check out this SF Public Press interview on Octavio Solis on living in San Fras, nostalgia for El Paso, and more: Playwright Octavio Solis: ‘Shake These People Up’

"I would never have written “Lydia” if I lived in El Paso or Dallas. I am aware of the issues that LGBT people face every day here."

Q: Will you stop writing about Texas?
I kind of cherish Texas and, at the same time, revile it. ... But I’ll never leave (El Paso) because so much of who I am is still there. It’s a city on the cusp of two eras, two countries, two ways of life, two ways of seeing the world. ... I was raised half a mile from the border. ... I will go back to El Paso a lot

Houston School to Close after 90 years

"After 90 years, Houston Elementary School is closing its doors." El Paso Times. READ MORE. 

The link we share with you today is: The Corporate Crime Reporter.

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