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

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lunes con Lalo one day late: Bilingual Wars and Fundraiser

I think I caught something from the ducks in Deming, so I wasn't able to post the weekly wisdom from Lalo Delgado yesterday. Better late then never:

Poetic Wisdom for Your Week from the Poetry Laureate of Aztlan


Last night I met
another vet,
a veteran
of the bilingual wars.

He showed me
his medals and his scars
and spoke of California and Arizona
as if they were Vietnam.

I told him
the war was coming to Colorado
and the enemy
was well armed with dollars
and had taken good aim
at the new battlefield terrain.

We reminisced of when
bilingual bicultural education
was born back in the late fifties
in San Antonio, Texas

We also remembered
how it was before
when a rubber hose
enforced Texas law
of no Spanish on the school grounds.

It's not really
bilingual ed they fights
but us Xicanos.

I shook his hand
and gave him
a warm Xicano hug.

We both hoped
Xicanos and non-Xicanos
were ready to fight
another bilingual war
right in their own backyard.



Better to give
than to receive
so Thursday eve
a poetry reading is scheduled
for an economic reprieve.

A garage sale will take place
the day after, while
gets ready for a
f u n d r a i s e r
of their owe
to fund the war.

We're trying to save Su Teatro,
CHAC and seven thousand other
non-profit art organizations
all over Aztlán.

They are the current victims
of the economic crunch,
belted by the one-two punch
and by the end to the free lunch.

Bring in the Kool-Aid
and know
that la raza of beans and maiz
is going to stick around
and defend their holy ground.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Some post comments and New Books in August


Some Notes on prior posts

One of our readers, stated on reading on Luis Omar Salinas that there is bio by Gary Soto on Salinas that is better than the one written by Chris Buckley. 

She says "Chris Buckley is not correct that Omar came to the valley from Texas in his teens. He was already living and going to school in Fresno by the age of 11.  He delivered the Fresno Bee newspaper and won an award for outstanding service as a paper boy.  I saw the award and newspaper clipping at his funeral.  So, Omar is really more of a California writer than a Texas one, even though he was born in Robstown. He lived almost all of his life in the San Joaquin Valley, and he did most of his writing in Fresno/Sanger."

I've tried to find the bio written by Soto. I found one on MELUS: Luis Omar Salinas: Chicano Poet

Bill fisher a book collector in San Tony sent us this: "...I read with interest your blog on the history of Chicano poetry chapbooks.  Your post raised a few questions that I can answer... I have copies of Sabine Ulibarri's Al cielo se sube a pie and Luis Omar Salinas' Crazy Gypzy.  Both books are longer (and hence fatter) than the other books, so it may be a bit of a stretch to call them chapbooks.  But then, there is no hard and fast definition of a chapbook, so it is really in the eye of the beholder.With respect to the 2 books published in 1971 that you had not seen, I can confirm that Heriberto Teran's Vida de ilusiones and Tigre's Free, Free at Last are definitely short enough to be considered chaps."

Please view our updated El Paso Literary Events on the right side of our blog.


Swan Scythe Press ISBN: 978-1-930454-27-9
Francisco X. Alarcón

Uno is a miraculous achievement -- part prophecy of and for a new spiritual revolution, part ritual word-practice for the actual coming together of elements, bodies, nations and universal forces and part love song for the dead, for the living and those in emergence. Alarcón, furthers and grounds the work of the urban shaman poet and of the project of Latin@ Indigenous poetics during the last forty years - a task few, if any, have accomplished. 

A daring, rare, gifted, and radical power lies in these pages. Do not be lulled by the lyrical and incantatory music; examine this closely; here is a blue-print for the new poet, the awakened social actor in a time of global crises. --
              -- Juan Felipe Herrera, winner of the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award

Minimalist, joyful, and essential, Alarcón's multilingual poem-songs are strong vessels for anyone who is willing to journey through the soul's deep yet limpid cenotes sagrados, and emerge radiant, with a new voice in harmony with a multitude of world cantos. A treat to the eyes and ears and as vital as earth, water, air and fire. Bravo!! 
                        -- Lucha Corpi, author of Palabras de Mediodía/Noon Words

Alarcón composes activist music. The lyrics are spare but bursting. Though they don't feel tense, they stretch with tension to pull us from aloneness to oneness, to string all life together with radio waves. He is a poet who loves harmony and unity above anything lesser. And like the openness of paper, he eases the writing of that world together. 
                      -- Sandra McPherson, poet/founder of Swan Scythe Press


Latinos: Exploring Diversity and Change Hardcover
FirstForum Press August 30, 2010 ISBN-10: 1935049283
Cameron D. Lippard (Editor), Charles A. Gallagher (Editor)

How has the dramatic influx of Latino populations in the US South challenged and changed traditional conceptions of race? Are barriers facing Latinos the same as those confronted by African Americans?

The authors of Being Brown in Dixie use the Latino experience of living and working in the South to explore the shifting complexities of race relations. Systematically considering such central issues as hiring, housing, education, and law enforcement, they emphasize the critical social and policy implications for new gateway communities and for our society as a whole. 

Youth Violence: Sex and Race Differences in Offending, Victimization, and Gang Membership 

Hardcover Temple University Press August 6, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1439900710

Finn-Aage Esbensen , Dana Peterson , Terrance J. Taylor , Adrienne Freng (Authors)

Violence by and against youth continues to be one of the most challenging subjects facing criminologists. 

In this comprehensive and integrated analysis of the interrelationships of youth violence, violent victimization, and gang membership, Finn-Aage Esbensen, Dana Peterson, Terrance J. Taylor and Adrienne Freng seek to understand what causes youth violence and what can be done about it. 

Using the results from an inclusive study they conducted of eighth-graders in eleven American cities, the authors examine how the nature, aetiology, and intersections of youth violence are structured by both sex and race/ethnicity. Youth Violence is pertinent to juvenile justice policy considerations. 

The authors frame their discussion within the public health perspective, focusing on risk factors associated with violent behavior. The findings address prevalence and incidence, as well as the demo-graphic correlates and cumulative effects of the risk factors associated with engagement in violence. Ultimately, the theories and research methodologies here are essential for understanding the dynamics of youth violence.

[Paperback] University of Arizona Press (September 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0816529299
Mark Santiago

The quiet of the dawn was rent by the screams of war. Scores, perhaps hundreds, of Quechan and Mohave warriors leaped from concealment, rushing the plaza from all sides. Painted for battle and brandishing lances, bows, and war clubs, the Indians killed every Spaniard they could catch. 

The route from the Spanish presidial settlements in upper Sonora to the Colorado River was called the Camino del Diablo, the "Road of the Devil." Running through the harshest of deserts, this route was the only way for the Spanish to transport goods overland to their settlements in California. 

At the end of the route lay the only passable part of the lower Colorado, and the people who lived around the river, the Yumas or Quechans, initially joined into a peaceful union with the Spanish. When the relationship soured and the Yumas revolted in 1781, it essentially ended Spanish settlement in the area, dashed the dreams of the mission builders, and limited Spanish expansion into California and beyond. 

In Massacre at the Yuma Crossing, Mark Santiago introduces us to the important and colorful actors involved in the dramatic revolt of 1781: Padre Francisco Garcias, who discovered a path from Sonora to California, made contact with the Yumas and eventually became their priest; Salvador Palma, the informal leader of the Yuman people, whose decision to negotiate with the Spanish earned him a reputation as a peacebuilder in the region, which eventually caused his downfall; and Teodoro de Croix, the Spanish commandant-general, who, breaking with traditional settlement practice, established two pueblos among the Quechans without an adequate garrison or mission, thereby leaving the settlers without any sort of defense when the revolt finally took place. 

Massacre at the Yuma Crossing not only tells the story of the Yuma Massacre with new details but also gives the reader an understanding of the pressing questions debated in the Spanish Empire at the time: What was the efficacy of the presidios? How extensive should the power of the Catholic mission priests be? And what would be the future of Spain in North America?

Hardcover Edwin Mellen Pr (August 31, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0773436448
Jason D. Rivera

This edited volume explores the experiences of minority groups within American society in the aftermath of disaster. 

Focusing on four minority groups, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans and Latinos, contributing authors discuss the various strategies used by these groups to recover from natural and technological disasters. 

During the aftermath of natural and technological disasters, often times spiraling human toll, financial costs, loss of livelihoods, and communities left in disarray can often be traced to policies unsuited to the emerging scale of problems. 

This volume illustrates the need for policy-makers and emergency planners to develop more culturally competent approaches to implementing planning and prevention strategies within culturally responsive frameworks that ultimately maximize a group's ability to be resilient in the aftermath of disasters. 

The editors of this volume believe that his research contributes to the discipline of disaster studies by highlighting social groups within American society and provides insight into how a democratic society can reshape its approach to disaster mitigation in a more socially just manner.

Hardcover University of New Mexico Press 
August 16, 2010 ISBN-10: 0826348882
Romin Teratol Antzelmo Peres (Authors), Carol Karasik (Editor)

Travel writing, the literary exploration of other cultures, has long been a tradition in the English-speaking world. This book turns the tradition on its head and records what is surely the first Maya literary exploration of the United States. 

The authors were Tzotzil-speaking Zinacantec Maya who accompanied Robert Laughlin, the compiler of "The Great Tzotzil Dictionary of San Lorenzo Zinacantan", on two trips to the United States. These were action-packed journeys. On the initial voyage, in 1963, they were in the United States for the assassination of President Kennedy. 

'The murderer had never met the President. He never had spoken a single word to him. He didn't even know him!' one of the Zinacantecos reports. 

They also met Margaret Mead at an American Anthropological Association meeting and flew on their first plane, which they referred to as a 'buzzard machine'. 

On the second trip, in 1967, they visited the Navajo and Zuni reservations, stormed the Pentagon with a protest march, and met the Mexican actor Cantinflas, who had just had a facelift. 

It took Laughlin several years to persuade his companions to write about their travels. Laughlin notes that Romin Teratol confided to him before returning to Zinacantan, 'If I tell people what I saw, nobody will believe me.' 

Published here with Laughlin's more academic account of his introduction to life among the Zinacantec Maya, these remarkable travelogues shed light on both Maya and American societies.

    Tired Sunday: News, New Books in Aug.

    Well, I've decided to skip the Sunday Press Spotlight for today. I returned From the Great American Duck Race in Deming, NM

    While I work on the remaining books for Aug, check out Rigoberto Gonzalez negative review of The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse: "This mismatch between


    character and diction disrupts the reading experience repeatedly," says Gonzalez. READ MORE.

    Also, check out Ramon Renteria's article on Monica Perales and her news book on Smeltertown: "Smeltertown's Story: Historian chronicles birth, growth and death of her family's neighborhood"
    Check out an earlier piece we did on this book: Smeltertown.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Literary News: Copyright, Sasha Pimentel Chacon, Letras Latinas, El Paso Writer Blog Updates


    Literary News

    There was an NPR and Marketplace story on Lewis Hyde, author of "Common as Air." His new book argues that current copyright laws are hindering people's ability to live and act publicly. Click here for the NPR story and the Marketplace story.

    Check out this NPR review of Playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Quiara Alegria Hudes' Welcome to My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC. Click here for review.

    Check out this Public Radio of the Southwest interview/preview of Sasha Pimentel Chacon about her recent book. HERE's THE INTERVIEW. Pimentel Chacon teaches in the MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

    The poetry foundation published a piece and interview with Steven Cordova:

    Is Steven Cordova a Borg?

    The Millions has a story on the "Perils of Social Literary Networking."READ IT NOW. In addition, Poets and Writers Magazine put out it annual ranking of MFA programs. Check out the rankings here.

    The Huffington Post ranked the 15 most innovative university presses, SEE THEM HERE. Among who publish Chicano(a)s are NYU Press, U of Illinois Press, University of Wisconsin Press, University of California Press, and more.

    Human Rights Watch listed 42 Writers who have faced Political Persecution: Banned, Censored, Harassed, and Jailed.

    Another interesting story on NPR is on Digital Overload: "Richtel has spent the past several months researching the toll technology and "information juggling" are taking on our lives — and our brains. His series "Your Brain On Computers" describes how multitasking on computers and digital gadgets affects the way people process information — and how quickly they can then become distracted." READ/HEAR MORE.

    Check out this interview by Francisco Aragon with Michael Nava and Nava's recent exploits. Kudos to Francisco for a good interview!

    El Paso Writer Blog Updates

    Pat Mora gives some comments on changes to her blog and memories of educators in El Paso. She remembers Lorreto! READ MORE.

    Cinco Puntos Press blog mentions that Ben Saenz Last Night I Sang to the Monster was a finalist for the 2010 PEN USA Literary Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature. Congrats to Ben! He's on a roll. READ MORE.

    Lunas, moons, and Lunatics are the themes of Rafael Jesus Gonzalez most recent book La musa lunatica/The Lunatic Muse. He posts a poem called "La Luna Pi" on his most recent blog post. READ IT NOW. C.M. Mayo looks at William J. Jaenike's Black Robes in Paraguay in her latest blog post. Read it now.

    Sheryl Luna, aside from her regular postings of Cat Steven's muses on life on her Dialectical Migration blog: READ IT NOW. Medications on his visit to Chicago and his son Ramiro, is what you find on Luis J. Rodriguez' blog: READ IT NOW. Some comments on Sheryl Luna on Daniel Chacon's blog: "The first time I heard that God is in the details was from the poet Sheryl Luna at a reading she was giving in Chuco. It struck me as a true statement at the time, and I couldn’t help but think of a quote from Borges wherein he says every detail (in fiction) is an omen." READ MORE.

     A lot more news tomorrow folks, Pain of Writing, Part II, other blog updates, Flor y Canto we get knocked down and get up again line up, Mouthfeel Press, and more New books in August.

    El Paso Writer Spotlight: Ray Gonzalez


    El Paso Writer Spotlight: Ray González
    Writer's El Paso Roots Provide Creative Abundance

    Ray González is one of the most prolific writers in Chicano(a) Literature. Poet, essayist, educator, González has led nonprofits, taught writing to juvenile offenders, and taught in public schools and at universities.

    Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, he attended the University of Texas at El Paso and received his MFA from Southwest Texas State University.

    Critics have said González fills his poetry with Southwest, desert, and indigenous motifs and imagery.However, Gonzalez is not limited to poetry, he also works as a serious editor and essayist.

    El Paso Exodus, Denver, San Anto and more

    After leaving El Paso, González moved to Denver where he got involved with the writing community there. He taught writing classes for the Emerson House Detention Center, served as editor for La Voz, and began working with Denver's Bloomsbury Review. He was director of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio. He served as poetry editor for Denver's Bloombury Review even while away from Denver and was even active in the publication into the 1990s. Before going to Minnesota, he taught at the University of Illinois in Chicago.


    His first publication, From the Restless Root (Arte Publico Press) came out in 1986. González has edited twelve books including After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties (Boston), Mirrors Beneath the Earth: Short Fictions by Chicano Writers (Curbstone), Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today's Latino Renaissance (Anchor), among others. González is the author of nine book of poetry and several books of essays and prose.


    González is said to have a very good understanding of the publishing industry, both on a “technical and promotional basis.” He created his own press called Mesilla which published works of many Denver poets. While in Colorado, he was awarded the Colorado Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts (1988). He is also the recipient of the 2003 Minnesota Literary Award for Poetry and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Book Award. In 2003, he also received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature, Border Regional Library Association, February 2003. For more awards, click HERE. He is the founding editor of the journal Luna.

    Among his influences are Pablo Neruda and Robert Bly. Also of note, is that University of Arizona Press's Camino del Sol Series originally began under his auspices.

    González currently teaches at the University of Minnesota.

    Recent book by Ray González

    Cool Auditor 
    (American Poets Continuum) Paperback
    BOA Editions Ltd.; 1st edition (November 1, 2009)
    ISBN-10: 1934414298

    Fusing the real with the surreal and the natural world with human relationships, Ray González creates his own brand of magical realism. Gonzalez also brings pop humor in such poems as “The Guitars,” which uses the word “guitar” in almost every sentence to talk about the true (and not so true) lives of rock stars. David Lazar notes, “Ray González may be our most essential prose poet.”

    Faith Run 
    (Camino Del Sol a Latina and Latino Literary Series)
    Paperback - University of Arizona Press (September 1, 2009)
    ISBN-10: 0816527695

    Faith Run offers the most recent work by the well-known poet Ray González. The poetry here is — at once — perhaps his most personal and most universal. At the heart of these lyrical, sometimes ethereal, poems is a deep sense of the mystery and even the divinity of our human lives. 

    Although Gonzalez invokes the names of many poets who have come before him, including Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost, Charles Wright, Allen Ginsberg, and Federico García Lorca, he writes in his own singular voice, one sculpted by the scorched and windblown landscapes of the American Southwest, by the complications of life in a borderland, by the voices of ancestors. 

    With the confident touch of a master craftsman, he creates a new world out of the world we think we know. In his poems, the personal suddenly becomes the cosmic, the mundane unexpectedly becomes the sublime.

    For González, it seems, we humans can transcend the ordinary — just as these poems transcend genre and create a poetic realm of their own — but we never actually leave behind our rooted, earthbound lives. 

    Although our landscape may be invisible to us, we never escape its powerful magnetism. Nor do we ever abandon our ancestors. No matter how fast or far we run, we can never outrun them. Like gravity, their influence is inexorable.

    These poems enchant with their language, which often leaps unexpectedly from worldly to otherworldly in the same stanza, but they cling and linger in our memories — not unlike the voices of friends and relatives.

    Renaming the Earth: Personal Essays
    (Camino Del Sol Series)
    Paperback University of Arizona Press (October 15, 2008)
    ISBN-10: 0816524076
    In his distinctive and spirited way, Ray González, the well-known essayist, poet, fiction writer, and anthologist, reflects on the American Southwest — where he was raised and to which he still feels attached (even though he has lived much of his life elsewhere). 

    González quite as hard as in his native city of El Paso, Texas. 

    There he finds the “segregated little town of my childhood” transformed into “a metropolis of fast Latino zip codes . . . a world where the cell phone, the quick beer, the rented apartment, and the low-paying job say you can be young and happy on the border.” 

    Readers will wonder, along with the author, whether life along the “new border” is worth “the extermination of the old boundaries.” 

    But there is another side of the Southwest for this “son of the desert” — the world of dusty canyons, ponderosa pines, ocotillo, and mesquite. Here, he writes, “there is a shadow, and it is called ancient home — structures erased from their seed to grow elsewhere, vultured strings searching for a frame that stands atop history and renames the ground.” 

    Rooted in the desert sand and in the banks of the Rio Grande, the muddy river that forms the border between nations, these essays are by turns lyrical, mournful, warm to the ways of the land, and lukewarm to the ways of man. 

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Our People Are Not Reading Our Literature, Part I

    Our people are not reading our literature, Pt. 1
    Survey shows low literature-reading rates overall; Blanks and Hispanics dismal
    For the complete entries in this series, click below 
    For previous entries in this series:

    by Raymundo Eli Rojas

    Bookmark and Share

    The fact that our people are not reading our literature, or reading at all, has bothered me for some time. Sure I've used it more than once to quell the Chicano writer with the big ego by telling them that few of our people read his works, but all things serious -- I am disturbed by this.

    In Carlos Cumpian's article "Without Passport or Reservation: The Next Move is Ours" (Rattle #12 Volume 5, Number 2 Winter, 1999), he asked if Chicano(a) literature's audience was becoming like jazz, in which most of the audience is White. In a Kansas City jazz magazine, I found the same statement, but from the jazz perspective.

    NEA Reading at Risk Survey

    Ever since I read the National Endowment of the Arts's Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, I have had an increasingly dismal look at who reads our literature. 

    Like most surveys, this one does not focus on Chicano(as), but puts Chicano(a)s, whether we like it or not, into the super-group "Hispanic," so that is the term I use here.

    If our writers don't care that our people are not reading our literature, then for whom are we writing?

    The survey's introduction says literacy as “the baseline for participation in social life...” and I'd agree somewhat with that statement.

    The survey focused on who was reading plays, short stories, novels, and poetry. This is what the NEA defined as “literature.” The respondents were not asked what genres they read, or if they read non-fiction.

    Most Common types of literature genres read

    The survey showed how the “most common types of literature read”:

    • novels or short stories – 45 % of adults
    • poetry – 12% of adults
    • plays – 4% of adults

    Wow, Guillermo Reyes was right when he said nobody pays attention to playwrights. Of course this Reading at Risk measures plays read, not seen. Using these percentages, the survey states that 10% “of the population read only non-literary books.”

    Who's writing

    7% of adults indicated that they did some creative writing during 2002. Only 1% had a work published. That should make Chicano(a) writers feel better. If you haven't had a work published, you are in the majority.

    How many books read in a one year

    The survey references another NEA survey, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (2002). This survey asked “respondants how many books they read in 2002.” The results they received was that most people read about six books. From this, they estimate that “Americans” read about 2.1 billion books in 2002.

    Don't get uptight: Reading is more popular than...

    Now before we get all depressed about these results, in comparison with “most cultural, sports, and leisure activities,” more people read literature than they did these activities. Furthermore, with 93 million readers, “novels and short stories have a significant audience in the U.S.

    Poetry has about 25 million readers. It is just as popular as “performances of jazz, classical music, or non-musical plays.” Now, the question remains if other “cultural activities, sports, and leisure activities” contribute as much to a person as reading does? The survey does not answer this question.

    People who read literature were more likely to be active citizens. Twenty-nine (29) percent of all respondants volunteered in their community.

    Compared with Europe and Oh Canada

    The survey did give some international comparisons. The country they focused upon the most was Canada.

    • 2/3 of Canadians (15 years of age or older) indicated they read a book during the survey year

    In comparing this with the “most comparable figure from the U.S. Survey,” the non-academic reading of persons in the U.S., Reading at Risk finds that our reading in the U.S. is 57%, which is lower than the Canadian 67%.

    In Europe, looking at 15 European countries, the reading rate was 45%. Compared with the US at 57%. The US reading rates were similar to Luxembourg, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

    Countries with higher reading rates include Sweden (72%), Finland (66%), and the UK (63%). Belgium (23%) and Portugal (15%) had lower rates then the US.

    Defining was is a “strong reader” in Europe, the European surveys cited a strong reader is a person who read more than 8 books a year.

    • 37% of Europeans were strong readers
    • 52% of those in the UK were strong readers

    Recalculating the Reading at Risk to match the European one, the NEA survey found “about 24 % of Americans read eight or more books in 2002.” When compared to countries in Europe, the US would be in the bottom third of the 15 European countries surveyed:

    • About one in five (21%) of people in the US read 1-5 books a year
    • About one in 11 (9%) read 6-11 books
    • Almost one in eight (12%) read 12-49 books
    • Approximately one in 25 (4%) read 50 books or more.


    In looking at factors in literary reading, the survey states “any group with a literary reading rate lower than 47 percent can be considered underrepresented among literary readers, and any group with a rate of 47 percent or more can be thought of as overrepresented.”

    Gender in reading

    In general, the survey found women read more than men. Men were “less than half as likely as women to read literature.”

    Race and reading

    It become more disturbing when race was factored in. Whites read at much higher rates than do people of color:

    • White Americans have the highest rate (51%)
    • African Americans (37%)
    • Hispanics (26%)
    This means that Whites were “twice as likely to read literature” than Hispanics. The survey factored in constants, such as higher overall education among whites, and came out with the same results.

    In addition, for White Americans, when you looked a the different age groups, “literary readings” were “fairly evenly distributed by age.”

    When you look the age distribution for African Americans, literary reading is “most common among younger age groups (25-34 and 35-44).” The survey did not find a consistent pattern with Hispanics, which had the highest reading rates in age groups 25-34 and 55-64.

    When looking at total readers, and taking out the percent distribution of literary readers by ethnicity and race, it shows:

    • 80% of readers are white;
    • 9% are African American;
    • 6% are Hispanic.

    “Women have a much higher literary reading rates than men in all ethnic and racial groups,” says the survey. The survey sites how White females have the highest literary rate at 61%.

    Factor in Age

    When you look at age overall, the age group of college studenets (undergrad) we'd assume are the most likely to read. Of course not every 18-24-year old is in college, but the survey found this group was 15% “less likely than others to read literature.”

    It Get More Dismal: Education Levels

    The survey indicated that the better the reading rates, the higher educational attainment. For example, “only 14 percent of those with grade school education read novels, short stories, poetry or plays n 2002.”

    However, when one looks at those with graduate education, they are five time (74%) “more likely to read literary works.”

    In comparison to high school graduates, here are some interesting statistics:

    • those with a grade school education are almost 60 percent less likely to read literature;
    • those with some high school education (but no diploma) are about a third less likely (35%) to read literature
    • those with some college education (but no degree) are about 35 more likely to read literature's
    • those with a college degree are about 75% more likely to read literature; and
    • those with a graduate school degree are 240% more likely to read literature.

    When we look outside of this survey at dropout rates for Hispanics, the PEW Center states that 41% of Hispanics ages 20 or older, do not have a high school diploma.

    Chop this down a little more and look at foreign-born Hispanics; compare them to native-born Hispanics: 52% of foreign born-Hispanics are high-school drops outs in comparison to 24% native-born.

    Of the dropouts, just 1 in 10 Hispanics without a diploma have a GED. Compare with African Americans (2 in 10) and Whites (3 in 10). (US Census Bureau).

    Of the native-born Hispanic dropout, 21% have GEDs compared with 5% of foreign-born Hispanic dropouts.

    When you look at educational attainment of Hispanics and the above statistics on how likely are individuals to read literature, it gets very scary for our gente.

    Chicano Literature: What's our Responsibility?

    Although, we are not finished with the look at the Reading at Risk survey, there are several questions we most ask ourselves: How do we get our gente to read more? How do we get our gente to read more of our literature?

    With the proliferation of English-only Chicano(a) Literature which we see today, especially in novels, short stories, drama, and biography, what is our duty to New Immigrants, who are mostly monolingual?

    Poetry remains one of the last bastions for Spanish (and/or Spanglish) in Chicano(a) literature, but as the Reading at Risk survey indicates, few read poetry over all.

    Again, high-school completion plays a large roll in literary levels. How can Chicano(a) writers not only fight dropoutism, but also contribute to Chicano(a) highschool-student retainment?

    We are fighting an up-hill(s) battle, as seen with the attacks on ethnic studies in Arizona and the Texas Textbook Massacre. Getting our works into the curriculum is/has been difficult. As it looks presently, it is going to remain difficult.

    Who's our audience?

    Are we writing for White people? I've seen this statement over and over in scholarly articles and on web. I do not think it is as bad as it sounds. I don't think Chicano(a) Literature would have survived if we weren't writing for White people in some way or another, either for English literature aesthetics, publishers, small presses, university press, and White critics.

    We are bound to run into la gabacheria at some time during the writing and publishing process. Even the most harsh critics of the “canons” I think, want an acceptance by the White literary world.

    It is our job as Chicano(a) to be part of that world, but not part of it -- in a borderland of literary space. We can write for anyone we wish, and that is the beauty of our literature. We can choose the audience whom are writings are directed and this can change from writing to writing, from poem to poem, and on and on.

    What is are responsibility to the monolingual, the New Immigrants, the high school dropout, to a gente that do not read much? Can we write also for the persons with low-literacy rates, for the monolingual at the same time as writing for "master readers"? Or can we write some pieces for others and some pieces directed at our gente who are not reading so much. In doing so, do we increase the literature-reading rates of our gente. It is hoped.

    Now it may seem I'm casting the blame on our people and our writers. I don't think the blame goes here though. Anyone familiar with our education system and the racism in the United States knows where the blame should go. My point is not about blaim, but about what is our responsibility.

    So my question, aside from dealing with the state, how can writers help get more of our gente to read our literature. I would enjoy your comments.

    Now, where are some problems with this survey, which we will look at in Part 2.


    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Lunes con Lalo Delgado: Wisdom for your Week - To a Different Drum: Walker Lindh and the San Patricios and El Paso Writer Updates: Luis Rodriguez, Gaspar de Alba, Pat Mora, Salazar, Solis

    Lunes con Lalo Delgado: 
    Wisdom for you Week
    To a Different Drum: Walker Lindh and the San Patricios
    By Abelardo Delgado

                    Historically some Americans have been marching to a different drum beat. Today, this spotlight in on John Walker Lindh -- the American Taliban.
                   In the midst of a revived patriotism fervor, his actions evoke ire and repugnance.
    How dare he betray his native soil? How dare he choose allegiance to a well-known American enemy?

                    In recorded history, we find earlier American Talibans. One such group also dared to march to a different drum beat.

                    That group emerged during the United States war with Mexico. Today, they are remembered as the San Patricio Battalion. At the start of the war, hundreds of Irish, German, and other immigrants deserted Taylor's army to join the Mexicans.

                     Some of the reasons behind their decision to desert can be argued as justifiable. Justifiable or not, they were judge with treason.

                      Most of the Irish were recent immigrants to the U.S. Who had left a starving nation for a better life in the U.S. They ended up recruited or drafted to fight an expansionist war encouraged by President Polk and fomented by General Zachary Taylor. History calls this a Manifest Destiny war.

                     The San Patricios, as they were called by Mexico's army, proved to be a great asset. The last battle which led to the total defeat of Mexico was fought at Churuobusco on Aug. 20, 1847. Many, from the Saint Patrick's battalion lost their lives in battle, and other were captured.
    An Irish-born deserter led the battalion of Irish deserters rather successfully, at least until the final battle. 
                    The San Patricios had much more in common with the Mexican Catholics than they did with the Anglo-Saxon officers leading the war. They resented the treatment of priests and nuns and acts of desecration the U.S. troops committed. They also viewed the war as an unjust one.

                      Today, this battalion is little mentioned in American textbooks. A book entitled The Shamrock and Sword by Robert Miller throws light in this (un) American episode. Xicano historian Rodolfo Acuña, pointed out in his writings, the saga of the Irish deserters who are remembered as heroes by many, and forgotten as traitors by others.

                    Those who were captured lived the many cruelties of their captors. They were branded with a “D” for deserter on their faces and backs. A few were lashed. Others were executed right away, while others later on, met the same fate.

                    This episode should not cast shame on all Irish for the Irish are the recipients of many medals of honor defending this nation as member of the U.S. armed forces.

                   There is a big difference between those who end up fighting against the United States even if they are American citizens, if they do it for religions or political beliefs, which pull them to do it. Then there are those who betray our country for simply monetary gain.

                       Anyone today who thinks John Walker Lindh should not become the spanking boy for all our ills, or who wished that he be dealt with the brand of American justice we are known for, is one more person marching to a different drum beat.

    El Paso Writer Updates

    Ruben Salazar news blitz

    Well, many stories are circulating in the press as the Chicano Moritorium's 40 Anniversary nears. Here are a few:

    PD Editorial: Hidden story

    Authorities have withheld files on Ruben Salazar for 40 years

    40th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War

    L.A. County sheriff to turn over Ruben Salazar files to watchdog agency

    The above article is interesting. It is from the LA Times: Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said Wednesday that he would turn over thousands of pages on the slaying of former Times columnist and KMEX-TV News Director Ruben Salazar to the civilian watchdog agency that monitors the Sheriff's Department so a report can be prepared on the 40-year-old case." READ MORE.

     Also check out Paul Krassner's article/excerpt on Counterpunch:

    "Salazar had been working on an exposé of law enforcement, which would reveal secret alliances among the CIA, the Army, the FBI, California's attorney general, and local police authorities. L.A. District Attorney Robert Meyer received a phone call from L. Patrick Gray – who had recently become acting head of the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover's death – telling him to stop the investigation. Meyer did quit, saying it was like the “kiss of death” to work with these people. Mae called Meyer, asking if he would help with her research. She wanted to find out why the Justice Department in Washington was stopping a D.A. in Los Angeles from investigating the killing of a reporter. READ MORE. 


    Article focuses on Estela Portillo Trambley

    An article on Estela Portillo Trambely was published in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. The article is written by Patricia Vernon Lattiin and is titled, "Power and Freedom in the Works of Estela Portillo Trambley." Registered user can download by clicking on the link above.  


    Luis J. Rodriguez: You ought to be in pictures

    Check out these photos of Luis J. Rodriguez on the Ademina Ayaka Blog.


    Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Cooking with Sor Juana Blog

    I don't know how long it been up, but check out Alicia Gaspar de Alba's blog, Cooking with Sor Juana. In it she has news on her new book Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera.


    Octavio Solis directs

    Magic Theatre opens its 2010-2011 season with The Brothers Size, Part Two of The Brothers/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The play is directed by Octavio Solis.

    Many Holes?: Oscar Zeta Acosta

    Manyholes.com listed Oscar Zeta Acosta in their list of "bizarre disappearances": " In May 1974, Marco Acosta, spoke with his father by telephone before he boarded a boat “full of white snow” in Mexico." READ MORE. How bizarre?

    Review of Pat Mora's Book Fiesta!

    Take a look at this review of Pat Mora's boo, Book Fiesta! on Kate's Bookery: Blog of Children's  Book: "The text is fine.  But the pictures!  Oh my gosh.  Pictures of kids just reading: their noses joyfully buried in their books, sitting side by side with a pal reading together, carefully balanced on the statue outside the library reading." READ MORE.


    The link we share with you today is: Evernote

    UTEP President Natalicio tells Juarez Shooters: “Bring it on bitch”

    AP Associated Pest

    Above, UTEP President Diana Natalicio, "You've been warned, eses." Photo by Camarina Montes

    UTEP President Natalicio tells Juarez Shooters:
    “Bring it on bitch”
    Get ready for 'Shock and awe' UTEP president warns after shooting

    Published: Aug. 23, 2010   15:00
    By Emiliano Ticias


    EL PASO, TEXAS -- Over the weekend a gun battle that erupted across the border in Cd. Juarez, resulted in gunshots hitting a building at the University of Texas at El Paso.

    While police are investigating a gun shots that hit Bell Hall at UTEP, university president Diana Natalicio's anger has not been able to be retrained.

    “I'd like to see those shooters try that shit on campus,” said Natalicio at a press conference on Sunday in front of Bell Hall.

     Above, Natalicio give tour of UTEP's defenses at Border Security Conference

    UTEP recently hosted its annual Border Security Conference, and among the new topics was arming of UTEP buildings.

    “The recent building expansion of UTEP includes security updates like machine gun nests, sniper towers, and more,” said UTEP Police chief Shota Dominguez.

    Meanwhile, while being restrained by UTEP vice president Richard Adauto, Natalicio told the Cd. Juarez shooter,
    “Bring It On Bitch.”