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

Octavio Romano

Saturday, July 31, 2010

EL PASO WRITER UPDATES - Paredes, Rechy, Mora, Ray Gonzalez, Cleofas Calleros, Saenz, Romo, Gilb

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Blog Updates

It's been a while since we updated you on the El Paso writers, so we have a lot to talk about.

She also posted a neat post on a new book about English-language writing in Mexico: Sol: English Writing in Mexico, Edited by Eva Hunder

On C.M. Mayo's Maximilian and Carlota Blog she has a post about the "Maximilian Diamond": Click here.

This past Wed, Karen Benke guested on the Madame Mayo Blog with some writing advice: Guest-Blogger Karen Benke: 5 Writers on What it Takes to be a Creative Writer

Yesterday, Mayo posted some more "blog noted." Check them out.

I saw Daniel Chacon posted to his Chacon in El Chuco Blog about spending the summer in El Paso: "Sasha and I decided to stay in El Paso for the summer, here on the writer’s block. We had never done this before, at least not the entire summer, and we soon found that anyone who says there’s nothing to do in El Paso hasn’t been paying attention." READ MORE

Rafael Jesus Gonzalez has put several post out since we last updated you. One was on his inclusion in New Poets of the American West. We let you know last week that Sheryl Luna was included in that anthology, we so it Rafael. Check out the post. He posted two La Llorona themed poems, click here. His last post was about SB 1070: re SB1070 and all that shit.

Cinco Puntos Press put out two post, one a forgotten post that was suppose to be posted after the 2010 Book Exposition of America: Opps! A Forgotten Post: After the BEA and another on the Pulitzer Prize winning book Tinkers: Tinkers: The Book that refused to Disappear.

Check out the El Paso Media Buzz for Billy Ray Cyrus' faux pas at this concert at Fort Bliss: Cyrus broke hearts at Ft. Bliss.


Paredes in Texas; City of Night reviews; Pat Mora visit


Raymund Paredes was in two stories of late, A and M approves $3.3 billion budget. I think we posted this before, but the Texas Tribune has an interview with Paredes: Raymund Paredes: The TT Interview. Also, Paredes says, "All we're trying to do by the year 2015 is to get to parity with college-going rates in the 10 largest states. That's all," Raymund Paredes told the A&M System Board of Regents during the body's regularly scheduled meeting Friday. "Our aspiration in this initial effort is to become average." This quote is from the theeagle.com: READ MORE.

Some reviews of City of Night by John Rechy can be found at this link: http://hi0.org/city-of-night-on-sale/

You can see some photos from a recent visit by Pat Mora to an elementary school at the Jones Elementary School website


Ray Gonzalez poem;  Cleofas Calleros; Ben Saenz on a roll


Ray Gonzalez has his poem "You shall Serve" published on the Emprise Review website:

Pablo Neruda fled Chile on horseback,
going into exile to see how the snow peaks

got in the way of Federico García
Lorca’s ascent to heaven.


The El Paso Times published an old Cleofas Calleros column concerning "controversy" of women wearing bloomers in El Paso: Click here to read the story.

Ben Saenz was featured as on of two poets in the Austin American-Statesman article:

Two poets of Southwestern alienation:Review of 'The Book of What Remains' by Benjamin Alire Saenz and 'Burn Lake' by Carrie Fountain.   

"Sáenz confronts history head-on. His raw dialectic explores a peculiar American schizophrenia, internalized as a form of well-being. The Southwest is a particularly apt location to explore this split identity. It promises openness, freedom and liberation from the burdens of history, but its other side is continuing repression. Sáenz's poetics expose this schism at every turn." READ MORE.


Christine Granados; Octavio Solis; Abelardo

 I feel like we posted this abstract by Christine Granados before, but if not, here it is again. We came across those abstract on MUSE: "Project MUSE - American Book Review - Romance for Men Project MUSE Journals American Book Review Volume 31, Number 2, January/February 2010 Romance for Men American Book Review Volume 31, Number 2, January/February 2010 E-ISSN: 2153-4578 Print ISSN: 0149-9408 DOI: 10.1353/abr.0.0068 Romance for Men Christine GranadosTexas A&M University I believe that the novel is a blueprint into a writer's soul. Anyone who has ever attempted to write one knows how much of the author is embedded into its sentences and structure. When I read what I consider to be a bad book, I notice that..." MORE INFO. 

Octavio Solis will be included in an evening of readings of experimental plays by six Latino playwrights -- "San Francisco's cutting-edge Cutting Ball Theater continues to celebrate its 10th season of critically acclaimed stagework with VANGUARDIA. This one-night only event will be held Saturday, August 7 at 8pm at the Cutting Ball Theater in Residence at EXIT on Taylor. "With Vanguardia, Cutting Ball is reaching out to the Latino/Latina theater community," said Associate Artistic Director Paige Rogers. "The six playwrights involved are spectacularly talented and their scenes give us a flavor of their particular experimental voice."

"Spanish for "avant garde," VANGUARDIA features an evening of readings of experimental plays by six Latino playwrights: Kristoffer Diaz, Marisela Treviño Orta, Octavio Solis, Caridad Svich, Enrique Urueta, and Karen Zacarias." READ MORE.

Here is a news blurp on the recent unveiling of Emanuel Martinez' painting of Lalo and Lola Delgado which was presented to UTEP. Check it out. 

Romo on Border Violence; Gilb

David Romo, author of Ringside Seat to Revolution, was quoted in a story by the BBC on violence on the border: US border violence: Myth or reality?

The BBC says, "Mr Romo (David Romo) says that during times of economic distress, the border and the immigrants who cross it are used as scapegoats. He believes history is repeating itself, and politicians are using the same rhetoric they have for decades." READ MORE.

Dagoberto Gilb was quoted in the Newark Advocate regarding writer William Zink. Click here for full story.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Crazy Gypsy by Luis Omar Salinas - a fortune telling of good poetry to come by poet -- The Fresno School of Poetry

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We continue our look at the “zero” years and here's our review of Luis Omar Salinas' Crazy Gypsy.

Collection Shows the 
Seeds of Great Poetry to Come 
from Iconic Chicano Poet

by Raymundo Eli Rojas

Crazy Gypsy is one of the classics of Chicano Poetry. Published in 1970, it was one of the first collections of poetry by a Chicano in the Chicano Renaissance.

Like Tigre Perez' collection Free, Free at Last published the same year, Crazy Gypsy reflects its time.

The book has poems dedicated to Ernesto "Che" Guevara, poems on the Viet Nam War, and are mostly English-language poems with two poems in Spanish.

The title poem starts off the collection:

I am Omar
the crazy gypsy
nimble footed
and carefree

I write poems
on walls
that sleep
and go away

I meet fearless girls
who tell me
their troubles
my loneliness
bottled up in their

Crazy Gypsy also present us one of the first collections of poetry by a Chicano (at least in the Renaissance era) who “studied” poetry. I am not exactly sure when Salinas began attending Fresno State University (then Fresno State College), but Crazy Gypsy is introduced by Robert Mezey, who taught at Fresno State University.

Because of this, I assume Salinas was already there by 1970. 

However, Salinas had already published individual poems before 1970, and Crazy Gypsy includes a segment called “Early Poems, 1964-1967.” We know that before Salinas got to FSU, he studied poetry under Henri Coulette at California State University Los Angeles.

Salinas, though leaving Robstown, Texas in his mid-teens, the town remains in Salinas' mind as he describes the prejudices of this small-Texas town. 

In the poem “Robstown,” Salinas reminiscences a 1947 event (Salinas would have been 10 years old):

Mother why do they look
at us like


Anitas brother
has a Congressional
and they
serve him
at Texas

Salinas personifies a river in the poem “The River”:

After a year
the river became
it was a friend
and great comforter.

Focus on segregation, Chicanos being killed in Viet Nam, among other topics, the book is divided into several sections: Early Poems; Guavara 1967-1968; 1968; an unnamed section that has poems on Robstown, Mexico and Viet Nam; and another unnamed section which begins with the poem “Novembver 1969”:

Poems stolen from the stomach of stars
written under decadent trees
and whimsical women

In that last section, one poems has a rallying cry for Fresno State: “Fresno State/stand up and/fight. Poets/defend your lives.”

The last two poems in the book are the only in Spanish. “Otono” shows the level of mastery Salinas had in verse by 1970:


Silencioso diciembre
pasas como nube
dentro del alma
acobijada de ilusiones
llenas de almidon
mi sangre
y come saldada
te marchas
y entras dentro
de misteriosas

Though most readers and scholars have concentrated on Salinas' English-language poems, Salinas shows excellence in both languages in Crazy Gypsy.

Like some reviewers have mentioned, there are some typos in the manuscript -- at least in the first edition. The book was published by Origenes Publication, which seems to have been associated with La Raza Studies at Frenso State. I am not one to concentrate on typos, especially in early Chicano Renaissance books that were mostly self-published, or published on recently-born Chicano presses and/or university series. 

When this collection was put together, there was only one known Chicano poetry collection, and that was Lalo Delgado's (1969), so read Crazy Gypsy remembering the time it was written in.

Also, poets and scholars should not ignore this book. While I was reading it, I pulled down from the shelf my copy of Elegy for Desire (University of Arizona Press, 2005) by Salinas. 

It is amazing what 35-45 years does to a poet. The maturity. The growth. The consciousness. One can see the evolution Salinas' poetry has gone through.

I must admit, when I was first introduced to Salinas, it was Prelude to Darkness (which goes for $300 on Amazon.com by the way) and Darkness Under the Trees/Walking Behind the Spanish and I did not sit well with me. 

However, I blame myself. Sometimes one is not ready to absorb stuff and when you go back and read stuff after the years have passed, you find you're a different reader.

Nearly 15 years later, I am a different reader, furthermore, and I can show more appreciation for this great poet -- and this is appreciation that other readers will also discover.

Notes on Luis Omar Salinas

Above, Luis Omar Salinas. Photo courtesy of
Karen (Harlow) McClintock

 Luis Omar Salinas died in 2008 and he was greatly eulogized by his colleagues. The “Uprights Against the Savage Heaven” blog has a short interview with Salinas written on the occasion of Salinas' passing: Click here to read it.

Christopher Buckley (UC Riverside) also wrote an elegy for the AWP which contains much more analysis of Salinas' poetry than I can give: Click here.

Hypertext.com also has very good bio on Salinas: Click here.

To the best of my knowledge, Ivan Arguelles and Salinas, are the only poets of Mexican extraction to be nominated for the Pudding House Publication's “Greatest Hits” series. The selection criteria for “Greatest Hits” is:

A poet must be nominated in order to have a POETS GREATEST HITS™ collection published. The Poets Greatest Hits™ national panel members may each choose 4 poets a year for this archive but the average inducted per year is approximately six in all. Panel members make hose selections with absolute authority and do not have to be approved by anyone else including each other or Pudding House Publications.

Additionally, every poet inducted is allowed one nomination in his/her lifetime. The poets nominated create a pool of candidates who are considered for selection. The project editorial management chooses some poets from that pool of candidates. Like other prestigious awards, it is an honor just to be nominated. Most nominees are not chosen.

No unsolicited manuscripts are acknowledged or appreciated. If a poet approaches the panel or Pudding House editors soliciting inclusion they could become ineligible in the future.


Luis Omar Salinas is associated with the so-called “Fresno School” of poets. Of Chicano poets in this group, Gary Soto, Ernesto Trejo, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Leonard Adame are included in this group.

The term “Fresno School,” according to Stephen Barile, comes from the book How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, co-edited by Christopher Buckley. The book description states:

"In 1958, Philip Levine arrived at what is now known as California State University, Fresno, fresh from his studies with Yvor Winters at Stanford, and set out to build a poetry curriculum. Soon, he invited other talented poets to join him. What emerged over the next forty years became one of the most important regional American poetry movements of the second half of the twentieth century. Some of these writers were born or grew up in Fresno or the surrounding communities in the Central Valley. Some came to Fresno to study. Some were not students at all, but poets who were caught up in the excitement that spilled over to the community at large. Many have gone on to careers as poets, teachers, and editors influential in contemporary poetry"

The first colleagues Levine recruited were Robert Mezny and Peter Everwine. Juan Felipe Herrera also taught at FSU.

Later poets coming out of FSU (graduate and undergraduates) include Dixie Salazar, Roberto Vazquez, the late Andres Montoya, Daniel Chacon, Blas Manuel de Luna, David Dominguez, and Ana Garza among others.

Above, Dixie Salazar 
Stephen Barile posted a post to the FSU MFA blog:

== There is no "Fresno School of Poetry." This term came from the
introduction to "How Much Earth," an anthology of Fresno poets
published in 2000. Mark Jarman, who wrote the introduction, made
reference to something like a Fresno School of Poetry existing from the
community of Fresno poets. The editors, Buckley, Oliveira and Boston,
in some advance material when the book was published, reiterate the
vague reference of Jarman.

There is no "school" in the sense of the "New York School of Poetry,"
otherwise Fresno poets would be writing alike. And thank gawd, none of
the over 70 or so poets in the world with links to Fresno, write
alike. Even though, I think we'd all like to write like Larry Levis or
Phil Levine.

There is a school FOR Fresno poetry, and it has been Fresno State since
the arrival of Philip Levine in 1958, who put Fresno on the map for
poetry. But there is also the Fresno City College poetry-writing
program, of which DeWayne Rail was a part of, and is Lee Herrick and
others now teach. ==

The Fresno State effort was an undergraduate poetry-writing program
Levine started that grew with the arrival of Peter Everwine and Chuck
Hanzlicek. In 1992, the poetry-writing program became an "MFA"
graduate program. Connie was here by then, and Chuck was the director
after the MFA program started. Chuck retired in 2001, and Connie and
Liza took over. Now, in addition to Connie, we have Tim Skeen joining
the ranks and bringing his individual poetry-writing-style to the
community of Fresno poets, and for the benefits of the students.

I hope this provides some enlightenment about the notion of a Fresno
School of Poetry, it truly is the community of Fresno poets.

Stephen Barile

I'm not sure if the phrase "Fresno School of Poet" was first used in How Much Earth. At least for the Chicano poets, I'd agree with Barile that Soto, Trejo, Salinas, and do not write like each other, so the term “school” as used in the traditional sense in writing and music, may not fit.

However, doesn't it sound nice to say – “Fresno School of Poetry.”

For the FSU MFA Program, click here.


El Paso Writer Updates tomorrow

Are you looking for a venue to published that book reviews, chisme, article, or just ramblings. Pluma Fronteriza accepts guest posts on the topic of Chicano Literature, Chican0(a)s, Chicano(a) social science books and topics, art, and more. Contact us at rayerojas@gmail.com for more info.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Desert Rain: Remembering Arturo Islas

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Bueno gente, I write from Burque tonight. We continue our look at the "zero" years by beginning our look at 1990s. We will still look back at 1980 and 1970, and we'll have special look at a 1940 publications this fall. One of the books published in 1990 was Arturo Islas' Migrant Souls, so we will feature some commentary from various writers on that book. Until then, I'm posting an article that Felipe Ortego published some time ago on Arturo Islas. Enjoy.


By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca
Scholar in Residence/Chair, Department of Chicana/o and Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University

Arturo Islas died on February 15, 1991, at age 52 at his campus home in Stanford University. 

The news was unexpected but not a surprise since he had been ailing for some time from complications induced by AIDS. That he was gay was never an issue, that I’m aware of, in Chicano literary circles.

The last time I saw Arturo Islas was at Ardovino’s deli in Kern Place, El Paso, Texas, where we sauntered for lunch during the TACHE (Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education) conference being held at the University of Texas at El Paso in May of 1985. 

He looked fit, was jovial and the bon vivant, as always, during our meal, punctuated by emphatic moments of reminiscences and commentary about Chicano(a) literature and its struggle for recognition. Invariably when we met our conversations drifted toward the lack of Mexican American representation in the American literary canon.

What we shared in common as professors of English was the discipline. We both delighted in the fact that we were teaching Anglos their own literature. We also shared “French.” Arturo had minored in French at Stanford as I had at Pitt when I was an undergraduate there from 1948 to 1952. Unlike Arturo, however, I spent three years in France honing my French language skills so much so that I taught French at Jefferson High School in El Paso, Texas until 1964 when I moved to New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. We were both fans of Proust and Gide.

We talked about his novel The Rain God (1984), first titled Day of the Dead which languished for ten years as he tried to place the manuscript with a publisher. He revealed that he was working on a companion novel entitled Migrant Souls (1990). His manuscript of La Molly and the King of Tears was published posthumously in 2001 edited by Kay Cattarulla (Southern Methodist University Press). 

We also talked about Richard Rodriguez’ Hunger of Memory and obstacles Rodriguez’ work posed in our efforts to advance Chicano(a) literature in the American literary main-stream. We were both assaulting the normative canon of American literature which was anathema to Chicano(a) literature.

Our lunch at Ardovino’s carried us well past mid-afternoon. Arturo was in fine form – at the top of his game, one could say. It was always a heady experience to be in Arturo’s company, more so one-on-one. His literary range was extensive. Though I was 12 years older than Arturo, I always thought of him as a peer since we were both in the same doctoral cohort though at different institutions.

Arturo was not the first Chicano to earn the Ph.D. in English, though he was the first Chicano to receive the Ph.D. in English at Stanford in May of 1971; I was the first Chicano to receive the Ph.D. in English from the University of New Mexico in August of 1971. By 1971 only three other Mexican Americans had received Ph.D.’s in English before us: Americo Paredes at the University of Texas was the first, Charles Ramos at Midwestern University in Texas, second; Roberto Gonzalez at San Jose State University, third; Arturo Islas at Stanford was fourth on that list; and I from the University of New Mexico was fifth.

Abandoning a dissertation on Chaucer, I wrote my dissertation on Backgrounds of Mexican American Literature, first study in the field. Arturo did not write a dissertation on a Chicano topic or theme, though he had toyed with the idea. His dissertation was on the Jewish American novelist Hortense Calisher, in the field of ethnic-American literature.

In the Fall of 1969, according to the Stanford News Release, Arturo labeled his Freshman English class “Chicano Themes, the first time anybody had taught such a class in the English Department.” In the Fall of 1969, I taught an upper-division course at the University of New Mexico labeled “Mexican American Literature” the first such course with that label in the country -– or so I have believed.

In 1984, Arturo’s novel The Rain God: A Desert Tale (first titled Day of the Dead) was first published by Alexandrian Press, a Palo Alto home-publishing effort by Patrick and Christine Suppes. The novel was later picked up by Harper Collins. His second novel Migrant Souls was accepted by William Morrow and touted as “the first novel by a Chicano author to be published out of a New York publishing house” (News Release: Stanford University New Service 04/18/91).

In 1959, Doubleday published the novel Pocho by Jose Antonio Villarreal, long touted as the first Chicano novel. This emendation in no way diminishes Arturo Islas’ eminence as a Chicano(a) novelist. In fact, in my Chicano literature classes, I use both Pocho and The Rain God to illustrate the early efforts of Chicano writers and the art of the novel, judiciously avoiding use of the term “the Chicano novel,” a term fraught with ideological obstacles.

I first met Arturo Islas at the Cabinet Committee Hearings in El Paso, Texas in October of 1967. Later, in the Summer of 1970, our paths crossed again at an education conference being held at the University of Texas at El Paso. That Spring, I had been selected to be Founding Director of the Chicano Studies Program at UT El Paso and was working on the Chicano Studies proposal. I was also finishing up my dissertation at the time. From 1964 to 1970, I was an Instructor of English at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, and was on leave during the academic year 1969-1970 to complete the residency requirements for the Ph.D. in English (British Renaissance Studies and Philology) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

More often than not, Arturo spent parts of his summers in El Paso with his family. In the summer of 1970, he was still recuperating from an intestinal flare-up which plagued him for the rest of his life. Despite the annoyance of his recovery, he was upbeat and buoyed by the prospect of a Chicano Studies Program at UT El Paso, first such program in the state. At Stanford he was also working on a Chicano Studies Program. Both programs thrived and survived.

Over the next twenty-some years, Arturo and I met at various conferences of the Modern Language Association and Chicano events. By 1990, his illness had progressed to the point of debilitation and embarrassment, no doubt, at having to carry around a colostomy bag. Still, his good-humor was not deterred. In conversations during that time, Arturo mentioned that he went to Sanford with hopes of becoming a medical doctor.

I learned that a bout with polio at an early age left him with a slight hardly noticeable limp. In El Paso, he was one of the few Mexican Americans who attended El Paso High School (valedictorian 1956) rather than “la Jeff” (Jefferson High School where I had taught French until 1964) or “la Bowie” (Bowie High School), the two South El Paso high schools for predominantly Mexican American students. Fortuitously, Arturo made it to Stanford where he graduated in 1960, majoring in English (minor in Religion) and tapped into Phi Beta Kappa.

I mourned the passing of Arturo Islas who despite a paucity of literary production enriched the canon of Chicano(a) literature with The Rain God. Some critics have compared Arturo Islas to Gustave Flaubert, though I would classify him with Andre Gide. At Stanford, Arturo had the good fortune to study with Ian Watt, Wallace Stegner, and Ivor Winters. Good company.

(c) Felipe Ortego


Bueno, I'll be back in EPT tomorrow and give you some El Paso writer updates and maybe I'll have that review of Salinas book reader as I've been talking about it for weeks now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lunes con Lalo Delgado: Poetic Wisdom for your Week - Rolando Hinojosa, and Chuck Norris

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Before our Lunes con Lalo Selection, I'd like mention Rolando Hinojosa.

Academy 's Choice: Rolando Hinojosa

With all the attention we gave Rolando Hinojosa this month, we totally missed that the North American Academy of the Spanish Language, ANLE in its Spanish acronym, has proposed its member, Prof. Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, regarded as one of the country’s most prominent Chicano writers, for the prestigious Miguel de Cervantes prize for literature. 

"Since its beginning in 1976, the award has recognized the most notable Spanish language authors, among them Jorge Luis Borges, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Mario Vargas Llosa, Miguel Delibes, Augusto Roa Bastos, Camilo José Cela, Octavio Paz, Alejo Carpentier, Juan Carlos Onetti and Carlos Fuentes." 


It's funny who the rest of the world thinks are our best writers, so don't be too much in a hurry to dismiss the veterano(a)s. READ MORE ON THIS STORY.


Daniel Hernandez of the LA Times writes on "Zoot Suit" how it is still relevant after 30 years. Read more.


I caught this review of "Spoken Word" a movie that has a Chicano writer as a character. READ MORE.


Believe it or not, LULAC was been involved in Civil Rights. Here's a story on Cynthia Orozco and her book on LULAC,
No Mexicans, Women or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. This talk was in Alamogordo, which can be a scary place for some people of color. READ FULL STORY.


"A Latina writer idolizing a Latina writer, but I admired her (Isabel Allende)before I ever dreamed of becoming a writer, before I even referred to myself as Latina," says  ANN HAGMAN CARDINAL. READ MORE.


 Above (left to right), Lorna Dee Cervantes,
 Ramon Del Castillo, Gloria Velasquez, and Lalo Delgado

Bring In the Lions

The leprosy of our days
Is to have contracted AIDS
Rhyan White succumbs at eighteen,
we shed a crocodile tear,
still prevailing is the fear.

Prejudicial ignorance
remains from biblical times.

We still fear God's hand
for things we don't understand,
we still build city islands
to outcast the scarlet A's
but we're now
the new age of
Easters of understanding
will prevent us from driving
nails of shame through fragile hands
of those already dying.

Come on, bring in the lions
come on, burn them at the stake,
stone them with indifference
and hang bells around their necks.

No, we havn't learned anything,
we are still back in the jungle
and ignorance is the king.

The Holy Dove lost a wing
changing overreactions
into needed actions.

Yes, we can embrace a man
with AIDS without fear
of him contaminating
that embrace and kiss a child
with SIDA preserving yet
the innocence of such a kiss. Those with AIDS are not
to hate and in their tender hearts
there is no love DEFICIENCY.

The SYNDROME is unconcern
ACQUIRED throughout the ages
He would be found among them
if Christ were here today
and He would do more than pray.

                                    - Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado
Note: Lalo visited El Paso in 1999. He was doing a reading with Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Denise Chavez honoring Arturo Islas, Jose Antonio Burciaga, Estela Portillo Trambly, and Ricardo Sanchez who had all passed way in that decade. He had already written a poem on the passing of Sanchez and Burciaga and he had them in tow. While driving Lalo back from a reading at a high school, he asked me for a bio of Arturo Islas. He did not know Islas had passed way or that Islas was even from El Paso. He began writing a poem for Islas, but when he read that Islas had died from complications of AIDS, Lalo decided to perform "Bring in the Lions" which he had written some years before. After the reading, some of Arturo Islas family came up and thanked Lalo for the poem.

Carta Abierta a España

Un cadente verano
vino un xicano
a saludar a los abuelos,
veerdaderos, míticos,
fantasmas con cascos
de conquista
que le dieron
vida al mestizo
al mexicano
y más delante
al llamdo xicano.

Estos españoles
aunque no fueran
abuelos invitados
no dejan de ser abuelos.

Por ellos el xicano
carga una religión
muy roja en sus venas
y ya no hable en nahuatl
ahora periquea en caló
y no le reza al sol,
hoy le reza a Cristo y María.

Todo esto parece ser
una pesadilla histórica
donde el
bailan al son de la realidad.

Qué, España
os debamos la existencia
y heradados están
los dones españoles
de orgullo y de soberbia
O, España
aun que los xicanos

quisieran negar el perecido
basta con un espejo
para que refleje lo que es
y lo que ha sido.

Un Xicano vino a Valencia
y se quedo sorpredido
de ver que ahí
como en México
como en los Estados Unidos,
tambien es su casa,
tambien es su casa.

                         -- Abelardo B. Delgado
The above poem was written upon Lalo's invitation to the World Congress of Poets in the late 1990s in Valencia, Spain.

"Bring on the Lions" and "Carta Abierta a Espana" are (c) Abelardo Delgado, 2001 from Living Life On His own Terms: Poetic Wisdom of Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado. Published with permission of the Delgado family.


(Spanish Edition)
Suma De Letras, Alfaguara Mexico (July 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 6071104734 

Jose Ignacio Valenzuela (Author)

Pablo Cardenas is a screenwriter doing a project on Tina Modotti. As he reconstructs intimate episodes of her life with her lover Julio Antonio Mellaan exiled Cuban political leader and political and artistic adventures with figures such as Diego Rivera, his research reveals a passionate yet fragile woman who was willing to fight for her convictions and who left a profound mark in the cultural scene of the twentieth century.

(Relecturas Viajes)
(Spanish Edition)
Espasa Calpe Mexicana, S.A. (July 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 8467017473
Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca (Author)

(Sport in the Global Society - Historical perspectives)
Routledge; 1 edition (July 9, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0415474159
Claire Brewster
Keith Brewster (Author) 

Mexico City’s staging of the 1968 Olympic Games should have been a pinnacle in Mexico’s post-revolutionary development: a moment when a nation at ease with itself played proud host to a global celebration of youthful vigor. 

Representing the Nation argues, however, that from the moment that the city won the bid, the Mexican elite displayed an innate lack of trust in their countrymen. Beautification of the capital city went beyond that expected of a host. It included the removal of undesirables from sight and the sponsorship of public information campaigns designed to teach citizens basic standards of civility and decency.

The book’s contention is that these and other measures exposed a chasm between what decades of post-revolutionary socio-cultural reforms had sought to produce, and what members of the elite believed their nation to be. 

While members of the Organizing Committee deeply resented international skepticism of Mexico’s ability to stage the Games, they shared a fear that with the eyes of the world upon them, their compatriots would reveal Mexico’s aspirations to first world status to be a fraud.

Using a detailed analysis of Mexico City’s preparations for the Olympic Games, we show how these tensions manifested themselves in the actions of the Organizing Committee and government authorities.

This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

University Press of Colorado (July 2010)
ISBN-10: 1607320320
Ethelia Ruiz Medrano , Susan Kellogg (Authors) 

This book examines the formation of colonial governance in New Spain through interactions between indigenous people and representatives of the Spanish Crown. 

The book highlights the complexity of native negotiation and mediation with colonial rule across time, culture, and place and how it shaped colonial political and legal structures from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. 

Although indigenous communities reacted to Spanish presence with significant acts of resistance and rebellion, they also turned to negotiation to deal with conflicts and ameliorate the consequences of colonial rule. 

This affected not only the development of legal systems in New Spain and Mexico but also the survival and continuation of traditional cultures. 

Bringing together work by Mexican and North American historians, this collection is a crucially important and rare contribution to the field. 

This is a valuable resource for native people as they seek to redefine and revitalize their identities and assert their rights relating to language and religion, ownership of lands and natural resources, rights of self-determination and self-government, and protection of cultural and intellectual property. 

It will be of interest primarily to specialists in the field of colonial studies and historians and ethno-historians of New Spain.


 The link we share with you today is: Chuck Norris Cannot Be Stopped

Your calo juarense for today is: macetón -
Cabezón; tener cabeza grande
A big-headed person


                                           -- Glosario del Calo de Cd. Juarez, Ricardo Aguilar Melantzón

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Small Press Spotllight: Wings Press AND "Libros, Libros" issue download AND EL PASO WRITER'S UPDATE

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Just a reminder. Many of the books we post here are already on our Libros, Libros: New in Chicano(a) and Latino(a) Letters which you can download for free. Just look to the left of your browser on our blog where it says: "Stay Up-to-Date with RAZA BOOKS -- THE NEW ISSUE OF "LIBROS, LIBROS" IS OUT" and click on it. This will take you to a Sendspace page where you can download Libros, Libros on PDF. When you are on Sendspace's website, choose "Regular download." You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you download for free of the web (just Google it) to read the PDF.

Libros, Libros is the most up-to-date list of new books in Chicano(a) and Latino(a) letters. This last issues has new books in 2010 only. Did we miss a book? Please let us know.

Also on the left side of your browser on our blog, you can subscribe to our feed and/or become a "follower"  and listen to speeches by our leader Falsa Doom. You may also join our Facebook group, although we mostly post El Paso writer news and photo of Nico Lico on it's Wall.


I can't remember how it has been, maybe a decade or it is over decade, but whatever the time span, it's been a pleasure reviewing for the El Paso Times books published by Wings Press.

Wings Press was founded in 1975 in San Antonio by  Joseph F. Lomax (Editor and Publisher) and Joanie Whitebird (Editor). When Lomax passed away, Whitebird took over as publisher and served in that role until 1995 when she sold to the press to Bryce Milligan. Wings has been one of the major small presses publishing works by Chicano(a) and Latino(a) authors and poets.

In fact, a Chicana holds their bestselling book. We are talking about Carmen Tafolla's Sonnets and Salsa. It was expanded and revised in 2004 and has since sold more th 4,000 copies. Wings also ran the Premio Poesia Tejana contest and series and introduced poets like Carolina Monsivais (see my review Monsivais' Somewhere Between Houston and El Paso), Frances Marie Trevino, Celeste Guzman, Mary Grace Rodriguez, Nicole Pollentier, and Greta de Leon.

Ramon Renteria, book editor of the El Paso Times said "Without publishers like Wings, Latino and Chicano literature would remain in a deep well in America."

Wings also runs the Whitebird Chapbook Series which publishes the winner of an open competition.  It has recently published a special edition series of "limited and signed" books in which, at least the titles I've seen are hand-sewn bounded. These include books by Ana Castillo, Lorna Dee Certantes, Angel Gonzalez, and Alma Luz Villanueva. These are just the titles by Chicana and Latino(a) authors, so check out the rest: Special Editions.

Some of their Latest Releases by Chicano(a) and Latino(a) writers and poets:

Bocaditos: Flash Fictions


hand sewn , 40 pages 

Bocaditos: Flash Fictions is Ana Castillo's first chapbook in many years. Limited to 300 numbered and signed copies, this 40-page chapbook is printed on non-acidic, 80% post-consumer waste recycled paper, with a hand-sewn spine. A die-cut window in the cover reveals a self portrait painted by Ana.
As Ana writes in her Preface: "These are independent stories or excerpts from much longer ones that developed from my solitary life and my singular desire to write. They came to me in my condo in Chicago and in my desert home in New Mexico. When I lived in those places. Or, hoped that I was living."

Dying Unfinished

9780916727451 Cost: $16.95

María Espinosa 

Dying Unfinished is the story of Eleanor's troubled relationship with her daughter, Rosa. At the core of their tension is the illicit affair she has had with her daughter's husband, Antonio. The affair itself is the surface manifestation of deeper turbulence The novel is narrated through both women's voices and covers a span of nearly seventy years, during which the world around them undergoes enormous change.

While it stands alone as a novel, it is connected to Longing (American Book Award). Each novel might be considered as parts of a Rashomon-like sequence in which events are perceived through different characters.


The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans

9780916727499 Cost: $16.00
Trade Paperback , 136 pages
Carmen Tafolla

 Winner of the 2009 Tomás Rivera Book Award for Mexican American Young Adult Literature 

Called a "world-class writer" by Alex Haley, Carmen Tafolla is the author of numerous works of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction for both adults and children. Her work has appeared in over 200 anthologies, and she has performed her one-woman show, "My Heart Speaks a Different Language," all over the world.Known mainly as a poet — hers was an important voice in the Chicano Movement — Tafolla's fiction appears here for the first time in book form. As the title indicates, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans is a literary feast. Tafolla skillfully combines the spiritual mission of a magical tortilla with that of a heart-transplant patient's bedside marriage, and the blessing of a handful of dirt with that of a cross-dressing streetperson.Spiced with the specific flavors of bilingual/bicultural South Texas, The Holy Tortilla takes on hypocrisy, prejudice, institutional pomposity, and other modern myopias with a fresh humor and a deep understanding of the human spirit. This is the human comedy. Welcome to the feast!

King of the Chicanos

978-0-916727-64-2 Cost: $16.95
Paperback , 192 pages 

Both heroic and tragic, King of the Chicanos, captures the spirit, energy, and imagination of the 1960s' Chicano movement -- a massive and intense struggle across a broad spectrum of political and cultural issues -- through the passionate story of the "King of the Chicanos," Ramón Hidalgo. From his very humble beginnings through the tumultuous decades of being a migrant farm worker, door-to-door salesman,prison inmate, political hack, and radical activist, the novel relates Hidalgo's personal failures and self-destructive personality amid the political turmoil of the times. With a gradual acceptance of his destiny as a leader and hero of the people, this impassioned novel relates the maturation of one man while encapsulating the fever of the Chicano movement.



A Tuesday Like Today

9780916727475 Cost: $17.95
Paperback , 160 pages

Cecilia Urbina

Mexico's Premio Coatlicue

Nominated for the IMPAC Dublin International Literary Award for works making "a lasting contribution to excellence in world literature."

During an almost accidental vacation in the Cambodian jungle, two sisters, Camila and Márgara, meet another wanderer, David Masters-Iturbe. They discover that they all have something in common – their Mexican heritage. Like benighted travelers from other times and places, the three proceed to tell stories in order to alleviate the boredom of long nights in their jungle hotel. Employing a twist of magical realism and a dash of cowboy-movie bravado, they end up constructing an imagined past for the sisters' ancestors that may be more than a metaphor for their own reality. With the horrors of Pol Pot's legacy outside their windows and a suave young man full of his own mysteries at the piano, Camila and Márgara must determine whether they are in the hands of random chance or destiny.


Among the Angels of Memory

0-916727-13-0  Hardback , 200 pages

Marjorie Agosín

2006 Latino Book Awards: Best Poetry Book in Spanish  

The first edition of Sonnets and Salsa, published in 2001, was Carmen Tafolla's first new collection of poetry in almost a decade. Now a new edition is available, revised and expanded. Old favorites are here, such as the well known sequence, "Sonnets to Human Beings," which was awarded the poetry prize in the 1989 National Chicano Literature Contest (University of California at Irvine).





Baby Coyote and the Old Woman / El Coyotito y la viejita

0-930324-48-X Cost: $17.95

In this bilingual story by award-winning poet, children's author, performer and educational consultant Carmen Tafolla, Baby Coyote teaches an old woman the value of preserving the beauty of the desert.

Cecile Pineda, the first Latina author to break into the major New York houses. Beginning in 2001, Wings began a project to republish Pineda's well-known novels, Face, The Love Queen of the Amazon, and Frieze, as well as three new works, her memoir of childhood, Fishlight, and two Òmononovels,Ó Bardo99, and Redoubt

to radical journalists (Roberto Rodriguez) to human rights activists (Marjorie Agosín) 

2006 saw the publication of three award-winning hardback books by Marjorie Agos’n, Lorna Dee Cervantes

DRIVE: The First Quartet (hardback edition)

0-930324-54-4 Cost: $24.95
Hardback , 313 pages

Lorna Dee Cervantes

 Lorna Dee Cervantes first book in 14 years, DRIVE: The First Quartet, also came out in 2006. LATINO BOOK AWARDS – BEST POETRY BOOK IN ENGLISH, 2nd Place. Winner, Balcones Poetry Prize

Indio Trails: A Xicano Odyssey Through Indian Country

by Raúl R. Salinas

0-916727-18-1 Cost: $16.00
Trade Paperback , 84 pages







Psst! . . . …I Have Something To Tell You, Mi Amor

Trade Paperback , 74 pages

Ana Castillo

Sister Dianna Ortiz travelled as a missionary in the early 1980s to the highlands of Guatemala, where she taught Mayan children to read and write. On November 2, 1989, Sister Dianna was sitting in the garden of her convent when she heard a man behind her say, in Spanish, "Hello, my love. We have some things to discuss."

She was abducted by this man, who together with others transported her to a jail where she was brutally tortured. One of her torturers –their boss, in fact – was a North American, probably associated with the US government in some capacity. Miraculously, Sister Dianna escaped by leaping from a car in which she was being transported.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported in its findings that: "Sister Ortiz was placed under surveillance and threatened, then kidnapped and tortured, and that agents of the government of Guatemala were responsible for these crimes. . . ."
Ana Castillo, moved beyond grief and anger, wrote these plays to document Sister Dianna's story.




0-930324-90-0 Cost: $16.00
Trade Paperback , 198 pages

by Cecile Pineda


by José Martí

0-916727-42-4 Cost: $19.95
Hardback , 126 pages

The first complete bi-lingual edition of the Cuban revolutionary's landmark collection of poetry, with a critical introduction, notes and an English translation by Tyler Fisher, Magdalen College, University of Oxford; Foreword by Virgil Súarez, Florida State University, prolific author and editor
blue ribbonNamed a "Top Pick for Hispanic Heritage Month" by the editors of Críticas, 8/15/2008

Mi'ja, Never Lend Your Mop …and other poems

by Brigid Milligan

9780930324643 Cost: $12.00
Trade Paperback Tomás Rivera Award Finalist; The first collection of poetry by a recipient of the Hispanic Heritage awards Foundation's 1999-2000 literature/journalism prize.

Cande, te estoy llamando

0-930324-44-7 Cost: $12.00
Trade Paperback , 48 pages

Celeste Guzmán



Casí Toda La Música y otros poemas

0-916727-29-7 Cost: $16.00
Trade Paperback , 96 pages

Ángel González




Get Butterflies with Ben Saenz

The Butterfly Scar blog posted a mini-review of Ben Saenz' THE BOOK OF WHAT REMAINS (Copper Canyon Press). Check it out here: Link.

Mr. Mendoza

Sign On San Diego has a small burp on Cinco Punto's Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush off of Cinco Puntos Press by Luis Urrea (El Paso). READ MORE.

Book Trailer for C.M. Mayo's Book

Blog Updates
And believe it or not, that's the only new post than ours. 
Monday: Lunes con Lalo Delgado

The link we share with you today is: Justice for Columbia.

Your calo juarense for today is: mangonear - Manejar a personas dea acuerdo los intereses de quien lo raliza - To hande people according to someone's personal intersts.

                                           -- Glosario del Calo de Cd. Juarez, Ricardo Aguilar Melantzon