Pinto poetry and other prison writings
Ever since Ricardo Sanchez walked on the scene in the late 1960s, the pinto poet has been a mainstay of Chicano Literature. This is not to say that there were no Chicano prison writing before Sanchez, but limiting ourselves to the Chicano Renaissance, Sanchez brought pinto poetry to the main stage where Raul Salinas and Jimmy Santiago Baca would later step onto.
In Movements in Chicano Poetry: Against Myths, against Margins by Rafael Perez Torres, the author dedicates an entire chapter of the pinto in Chicano poetry. Later literary critics has focused on Judy Lucero. Miguel R. Lopez published an aritlce on Ricardo Sanchez called, "THE PINTO POET AND THE CRITIC:RICARDO SANCHEZ AND POSTMODERN THEORY."
Lopez is somewhat critical of Perez Torres analysis of pinto poetry as well as critical of Cordelia Candelaria and Gary Soto's analysis regarding early Chicano Renaissance poetry. But that's another post...
Prison writing have always been a gem for readers. From short stays like Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Burmingham Jail" to Leanard Peltier's Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance, Mandela's writing from Robben Island, Antonio Gramci's Prison Notebooks, Ricardo Flores Magon's Prison Notebooks, and much more, the prison writing popularity remains. It would be a disservice not to mention the great Russian writers on imprisonment such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and his various writings.
I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang! (and later film) by Robert E. Burns was instrumental in reforming prisons in the South and getting rid of the chain gang.
A good book is Prison Writings in 20th Century America, edited by H. Bruce Franklin which contains a host of prison writings, some by Chicanos.Wall Tappings: Women's Prison Writings, 200 A.D. to the Present edited byJudith A. Scheffler has some writing by Latinas. Since 1973, PEN has sponsored an annual literary competition for prisoners.
New book on La Pinta
In January, the University of Texas Press put out
B. V. Olguín is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a poet and co-translator, with Omar Vasquez Barboza, of Cantos de Adolescencia/Songs of Youth by Américo Paredes.
EL PASO WRITER UPDATES
Ben There Done That
We caught this blog post on the Biekergaard blog on Ben Saenz and an interview he gave with Rain Taxi. READ MORE.
The Bookish Blather has a review on Saenz' Last Night I Sang to the Monster: "While I have mixed feelings about the existence of the new BFYA list, one thing I am very positive about is Last Night I Sang to the Monster deserves to be on all sorts of "best of" lists. It's nominated for the Nerds Heart YA contest and I hope it goes far! This is definitely a title that needs more exposure." READ MORE.
Ben and Francisco X. Stork are the only Chicanos on nominated for the Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominations.
We also saw on the Cinco Puntos Press website the Ben is a finalist for the LA Book Prize.
Cinco Puntos graphic novel review
I don't know if we posted this already, but here it is again, the San Francisco Chronicle's review of Luis Urrea's graphic novel Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush off of El Paso's Cinco Puntos Press.