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

Octavio Romano

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Out of El Paso Spotlight: Lizz Huerta and New Books In June 2010: Immigration topics; Updates on Solis, Rodriguez, Gilb, Luna, Santana, Rechy

Out of El Paso Spotlight
Lizz Huerta 

(above) San Diego writer Lizz Huerta
Photo by Julia Sherburne

I first became aware of Lizz Huerta while looking for chapbooks to spotlight in our next issue of Libros, Libros (out this month!). The poet and short story writer published a chapbook called Half Life of Memory

 Half Life of Memory

This San Diego writer of poetry and short stories runs the Mind of Lizz Huerta Blog. With publishings in Zyzzyva and even in the American Anthology of Young American Poets when she was a teen, Huerta was recently featured in San Diego City Beat:

"Lizz Huerta is about two minutes into a short story called “Birds” at a competitive reading event called “Literary Death Match.” Looking around, it’s hard not to notice the contemplative looks on people’s faces. They weren’t always like that. When Huerta initially introduced herself and uttered the name of her piece, her affable demeanor, wide smile and good looks must have made the crowd initially impatient.

Oh, great, here we go. Some pretty girl with a pen is going to read us some long-winded story about her ornithological trip to some third-world country and how it relates to the indigenous people’s struggle to be free—or some shit.  

You can’t blame them for being judgmental. After all, the evening has been filled with rather predictable political rants and trite, introspective spoken word. But then Huerta lets it fly."


El Paso Writer Updates

We caught this "Ultimate Dago Tour" piece on this stress website: 

"I can remember liking his collection of short stories The. Check out the opening of the story titled please thank you at first their people came and went. Dagoberto Gilb the author of this weeks story Uncle Rock exchanged emails with Cressida Leyshon a fiction editor at the magazine about the Dodgers immigration and leading a charmed life. By the time I got into music. I think I was too young for them. The New Yorker Uncle Rock by Dagoberto Gilb." READ MORE.

Also check out the University of Houston-Victoria news wire for National magazines publish works by UHV writer-in-residence.


Check out the recent pub on "The Pastures of Heaven," written by Octavio Solis:

Theater review: 'Pastures of Heaven', San Francisco Chronicle: 

"...one of the most adventurous theatrical undertakings of the year to date, the big, bold and multifaceted dramatization of John Steinbeck's "The Pastures of Heaven".... READ MORE.

Chad Jones' Theatre Dogs says: 

"Steinbeck’s Heaven, published when the author was only 30, is a novel told in 10 thematically linked short stories (with a prologue and epilogue), and Solis’ adaptation more or less follows the structure of the book with some dramatic rearrangement. The result is a play that feels more like a complete novel than the actual novel does. A deeply human story of dreams and destiny, of flaws, foibles and failure, Pastures of Heaven, both on the page and on the stage, is a compelling and beautiful story shot through with the sadness of fantasy clashing with reality." READ MORE!


Luis Rodriguez on the air

According to Luis Rodriguez blog, from of June 7 to June 11, Luis will be on on KJLH-FM’s Front Page talk show as an honorary co-host with Dominique DiPrima. He states that he's been doing this "off and on for about three years." It's an early show, 4:30 AM until 6 AM. Get it at 102.3. This show is now being video streamed at www.ustream.tv so you can hear it anytime and not at 4 in the morning.

Just put in the keywords “KJLH Front Page.” It will also be on iTunes.


"Death of Ruben Salazar" Mural

Lowwriter design has a caption on Frank Romero's mural "The Death of Ruben Salazar":

"Rubén Salazar wаѕ a writer fοr tһе Los Angeles Times аחԁ wаѕ active іח tһе civil rights battles οf tһе 1960s. Wһеח Chicanos rallied against tһе Vietnam War οח August 29, 1970, police fired tear-gas canisters іחtο tһе Silver Dollar Bar, wһеrе Salazar wаѕ struck аחԁ kіƖƖеԁ. Tο сrеаtе Death οf Rubén Salazar, Frank Romero combined tһе large scale οf Mexican Revolution murals wіtһ tһе brilliant colors οf tһе East LA barrio. Tο tһе rіɡһt, a movie marquee announces tһаt “La Muerte de Rubén Salazar” іѕ now playing. At tһе left οf tһе Silver Dollar, tһе Casa de Cambio suggests חοt οחƖу tһе exchange οf paychecks аחԁ cash, bυt tһе іԁеа οf change іח tһе community." READ MORE .



Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush by Luis Alberto Urrea is set in Rosario, Mexico.  The story is narrated by a boy, one assumes now a man, reminiscing about his childhood. It consists of short anecdotes about local events which, at first, don’t seem particularly extraordinary.   And then you discover exactly what it is that makes the town unique:  Mr.  Mendoza – the self-proclaimed “graffiti king of all Mexico”  – whose messages appear on walls, mountains, bridges and even the corpse of a monk.   He uses graffiti as a tool to critique the town and the townspeople.  “Upend hypocrites today.”  “Deflate your pomp or float away.” READ MORE.


Miguel Santana interview and Facebook page

Miguel Santana has several things happening. He has a Facebook page for his new book the The Marien Revelation. Also, see this interview in the Salt Lake City Weekly.

Rechy on summer reading list

John Rechy's City of Night was included on Zimbio.com's Twenty Great Gay Novels for Summer along with such writers as Thomas Mann, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, and Truman Capote. A City of Night Facebook group has been created, in fact their is a reading group in El Paso called the City of Night Reading Group.

Steve Weinstein wrote a not-so-flattering review of Rechy's memior About My Life and the Kept Woman .


Standards publishes Luna

Check out Sheryl Luna's poem "Smokin'"  published in Standards journal out of Colorado. Catch it online.


New Books in June 2010
Immigration Topics

Brokered Boundaries: Creating Immigrant Identity in Anti-Immigrant Times
Douglas S. Massey and Magaly Sanchez R.
June 2010

Anti-immigrant sentiment reached a fever pitch after 9/11, but its origins go back much further. Public rhetoric aimed at exposing a so-called invasion of Latino immigrants has been gaining ground for more than three decades — and fueling increasingly restrictive federal immigration policy. 

Accompanied by a flagging U.S. economy — record-level joblessness, bankruptcy, and income inequality — as well as waning consumer confidence, these conditions signaled one of the most hostile environments for immigrants in recent memory. 

In Brokered Boundaries, Douglas Massey and Magaly Sánchez untangle the complex political, social, and economic conditions underlying the rise of xenophobia in U.S. society. The book draws on in-depth interviews with Latin American immigrants in metropolitan New York and Philadelphia and — in their own words and images — reveals what life is like for immigrants attempting to integrate in anti-immigrant times.

Violence Against Latina Immigrants: Citizenship, Inequality, and Community
(NYU Press June 2010 ISBN-10: 0814788238), Roberta Villalon. 

Caught between violent partners and the bureaucratic complications of the US Immigration system, many immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to abuse. For two years, Roberta Villalón volunteered at a nonprofit group that offers free legal services to mostly undocumented immigrants who had been victims of abuse. Her innovative study of Latina survivors of domestic violence explores the complexities at the intersection of immigration, citizenship, and violence, and shows how inequality is perpetuated even through the well-intentioned delivery of vital services. 

Through archival research, participant observation, and personal interviews, Violence Against Latina Immigrants provides insight into the many obstacles faced by battered immigrant women of color, bringing their stories and voices to the fore. Ultimately, Villalón proposes an active policy advocacy agenda and suggests possible changes to gender violence-based immigration laws, revealing the complexities of the lives of Latina immigrants as they confront issues of citizenship, gender violence, and social inequalities.

The Boys from Little Mexico: A Season Chasing the American Dream  
(Beacon Press June 2010 ISBN-10: 0807021679), Steve Wilson

The all-Hispanic boys' soccer team from Woodburn High has made the playoffs for nineteen straight years. As they prepare to make it twenty, the boys are determined that this will be the season they beat the wealthy suburban schools around them and finally win the Oregon state championship. 

Their spirited drive gives a rare sense of hope and unity to a blue-collar farming community that has been transformed by waves of immigrants over recent decades, a town locals call "Little Mexico." In 2005, Woodburn High's Bulldogs, aka Los Perros, will start the season with eight undocumented students, three boys who speak almost no English, a midfielder groomed to play for a pro Mexican team, a goalkeeper living in his third foster home, and an Irish-descended white coach desperate to lead all of them to success. 

Watched over by a south Texas transplant — a surrogate father to half the squad — this band of brothers must learn to come together on the field and look after each other off it. More than just riveting sports writing, The Boys from Little Mexico is also about the fight for the future of the next generation and a hard, true look at boys dismissed as gangbangers, told to "go home" by lily-white sideline crowds.

Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration: Engendering Transnational Ties 
(Chicana Matters)(Univ of Texas Press June 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0292722036)
Luz María Gordillo

Weaving narratives with gendered analysis and historiography of Mexicans in the Midwest, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration examines the unique transnational community created between San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco, and Detroit, Michigan, in the last three decades of the 20th century, asserting that both the community of origin and the receiving community are integral to an immigrant's everyday life, though the manifestations of this are rife with contradictions. 

Exploring the challenges faced by this population since the inception of the Bracero Program in 1942 in constantly re-creating, adapting, accommodating, shaping, and creating new meanings of their environments, Luz María Gordillo emphasizes the gender-specific aspects of these situations.

Mexicanos in Oregon: Their Stories, Their Lives 
(Oregon State Univ Press June 1, 2010 ISBN-10: 0870715844), Erlinda Gonzales-Berry and Marcela Mendoza (Authors).

This important volume sheds new light on the stories and lives of mexicanos in Oregon: why migrants come to Oregon fields, construction sites, and warehouses, what their experiences are when they settle here, and how they adapt to life in the United States. 

Brain Gain: Rethinking U.S. Immigration Policy 
(Brookings FOCUS Books) ( Brookings Institution Press June 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0815704828
Darrell M. West

Many of America s greatest artists, scientists, investors, educators, and entrepreneurs have come from abroad. Rather than suffering from the brain drain of talented and educated individuals emigrating, the United States has benefited greatly over the years from the brain gain of immigration. 

These gifted immigrants have engineered advances in energy, information technology, international commerce, sports, arts, and culture. To stay competitive, the United States must institute more of an open-door policy to attract unique talents from other nations. Yet Americans resist such a policy despite their own immigrant histories and the substantial social, economic, intellectual, and cultural benefits of welcoming newcomers. Why?

In Brain Gain, Darrell West asserts that perception or vision is one reason reform in immigration policy is so politically difficult. Public discourse tends to emphasize the perceived negatives. Fear too often trumps optimism and reason. And democracy is messy, with policy principles that are often difficult to reconcile.

The seeming irrationality of U.S. immigration policy arises from a variety of thorny and interrelated factors: particularistic politics and fragmented institutions, public concern regarding education and employment, anger over taxes and social services, and ambivalence about national identity, culture, and language. 

Add to that stew a myopic (or worse) press, persistent fears of terrorism, and the difficulties of implementing border enforcement and legal justice.

West prescribes a series of reforms that will put America on a better course and enhance its long-term social and economic prosperity. 

Reconceptualizing immigration as a way to enhance innovation and competitiveness, the author notes, will help us find the next Sergey Brin, the next Andrew Grove, or even the next Albert Einstein.


Tomorrow, Retro Review Friday with review by Chicano playwright Carlos Morton

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