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

Octavio Romano

Sunday, October 31, 2010

El Paso Writers Update and New Books in October 2010: Topics Cuba

El Paso Writers Update

His-Fic Chic

C.M. Mayo guest on the Hist-Fic Chick Blog giving us a haunted story, just in time for Halloween. Read it now. Also see an interview with C.M. Mayo at historicalnovels.info.

More on Mora

As we stated earlier, Pat Mora was in Brownsville. She was featured in the Brownsville Herald, Poet Pat Mora to host reading at Children's Museum of Brownsville.

Pat Mora is also featured in the Poetry and Poets in Rags Blog: READ IT NOW.

REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking recently announced that the Arthur F. Turner Branch Library in West Sacramento, CA is one of three selected to receive the 2010 Estela and Raúl Mora Award for exemplary efforts in promoting El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). The Estela and Raúl Mora Award was established by author and poet Pat Mora, and her siblings, in honor of their parents and to promote El día de los niños/El día de los libros, also known as Día.

Paredes no para

Raymund Paredes joined other dignitaries in GenTx.org, a social media clearinghouse,
Generation TX initiative, which is expected to boost college enrollment. See full story. Paredes is currently serving on the National Assessment Governing Board 12th Grade Preparedness Commission.

More on the budget shortfall in Texas and higher education. Raymond Paredes is cited in Pundits weigh in on governor's race.

The Houston Chronicle also states, "The Texas Grants financial aid program falls far short of covering all eligible students. It also could be cut in the face of the budget shortfall - a prospect termed "catastrophic" by Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes." See entire article.

Paredes is also feature in the Texas Tribune online: "The current formula funds institutions based on their enrollment on the 12th day of class, but Paredes wants schools to get money based on how many students graduate." Read Raymund Paredes Proposes New Funding Formula.

Symposium named after Tafoya

A symposium at Sul Ross State University now bears the name of fronterizo writer Jesus Tafoya.  Research by Sul Ross  students is highlighted during the annual McNair-Tafoya Symposium. The McNair-Tafoya Symposium recognizes excellence in undergraduate research. Tafoya was professor at Sul Ross and formally at UT El Paso.

New post by Martinez

Claudia Guadalupe Martinez posted a post on Teaching Tolerance

Always Running author to perform at CSUN

Luis J. Rodriguez will read Nov. 18 at California State University Northridge,
Thursday Nov 18th, 2010 - Thursday Nov 18th, 2010
11:00 AM - 12:15 PM - Oviatt Library Presentation Room 

Castillo on Rechy

Journalist, actor, playwright, and biographer Charles Castillo is interviewed in Alan Mercer's Profile Blog. Castillo who wrote Outlaw: The Lives and Careers of John Rechy comments in the interview about Rechy. Read the interview now.

Gilb in UTEP's Borderzine

 “I have written 72 short stories and all of them except for three are set either in El Paso, or L.A.,” Gilb said. Gilb is quoated in UT El Paso BorderzineREAD IT NOW.

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New Books in October 2010
Topic: Cuba
El Castillo de los Ultrajes: Memorias de un derrumbe (Spanish Edition) 
Paperback CreateSpace October 8, 2010
Language: Spanish ISBN-10: 1453829318
Paulina Fatima
 Anonimo Internet Cuba (Photographer), Paquito D' Rivera (Introduction)

Hace poco los diarios del mundo hablaron de lo que ya en el 2000 exprese y denuncie en uno de mis libros. Hoy retomo la historia con una agudeza que me dan mis recién cumplidos 50 años: "El Castillo de los Ultrajes o memorias de un derrumbe". (Novela sobre el hospital siquiátrico de Cuba). Fue por el 2000 que la novela se presento en la Feria del Libro de Miami, y en 2001 en New York, en Lectourum, allí Paquito d' Rivera leyó el fabuloso texto "No son todos los que están, ni están todos los que son" y que hoy es el prologo de esta edición firmado con la fecha exacta que fue hecha la denuncia. 

Por todos esos elementos más la sumatoria de 15 años de exilio, he decidido reescribir esta obra, muy valorada por la prensa escrita* pero invisible para algunos que tienen poder mediático en el exilio. Lo importante es que las fotos que vi en un diario y también en Internet no es más que lo que vi en el 1988 en el Hospital Siquiátrico de La Habana, cuando el hospital estaba catalogado entre los mejores de América Latina. Decir las verdades en Cuba es un peligro, decirlas en el exilio a veces es complicado pues nos acusan de excesos. Saque usted sus propias conclusiones. La primera version de esté libro fue publicada por la Editorial Betania en el 2000. 

Fortunate Steps: Havana: In the Calzada Del Diez De Octubre 
(English and Spanish Edition) Hardcover Dewi Lewis Publishing (October 1, 2010)
Language: English, Spanish ISBN-10: 1904587917
John Comino-James (Author)

'Authentic and fresh - the streets remain the preserve of those who live there - and when photographing the people he is among them, not sneaking a snap from across the street" - Photography Magazine reviewing 'A Few Streets', John Comino-James's first book about Havana. In his second book of photographs made in Havana, John Comino-James has again set out to explore a part of the city not normally visited by tourists. 

The geographical scope of the photographs is restricted to a single road, the Calzada del Diez de Octubre. The route itself predates the foundation of the Parish of Jesus del Monte in the 17th century and was formerly known as the Calzada de Jesus del Monte. 

In 1918 the road was renamed in commemoration of one of the most important events in Cuban history - the declaration of the first full-scale war of independence against Spanish colonial rule on 10th October 1868 by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes. Although its once important function as the principal route to the south has been superseded with the construction of new highways, the Calzada still remains a busy urban thoroughfare. 

Through engaged portraits and candid observation and with an eye for both architectural detail and the imposing facades that stand as testimony to the changing architectural styles of well over a century, John Comino-James creates an intimate and sympathetic record of the Calzada del Diez de Octubre which, through its long history, occupies an important place in the imagination and memory of Habaneros today.

A Far-Flung Gamble - Havana 1762 (Raid) 
Paperback Osprey Publishing October 19, 2010
ISBN-10: 1846039878
David Greentree (Author), Donato Spedaliere (Illustrator), 
Giuseppe Rava (Illustrator) 

At the height of the Seven Years' War, Great Britain made an audacious strike at the heart of Spanish colonial power in the Caribbean. Gathering troops from bases in Britain and Canada and sailing across the Atlantic in secrecy was an incredible feat. The raid on Havana took Spanish colonial forces completely by surprise and following vicious fighting, the city defenses at El Moro collapsed. 

Havana, the jewel in the Spanish colonial crown, now belonged to Britain. The success of the raid influenced British military policy for centuries as the true potential of amphibious warfare was realized. Author David Greentree tracks every aspect of the raid from its origins to the seige and assault of El Morro. Each section is accompanied by full color illustrations from Donato Spedaliere and Giuseppe Rava along with maps, photographs, and period artwork.

The Untold Story of the Cuban Five: Spies or Forbidden Heroes? 
Paperback CreateSpace October 6, 2010
ISBN-10: 1453870717
Gualdo Hidalgo (Author, Editor)

During the end of the 90s, the FBI arrested a network of Cuban intelligence officers operating in Florida and they were charged as spies. The Cuban government alleged the officers were not gathering information about United States. 

According to the Cuban government allegations, the officers were gathering information about exiled Cuban hardliners who were planning and committing terrorist attacks against civilian targets in Havana. One of those attacks was the bombing of a hotel where an Italian tourist vacationing in Cuba died. 

The sentencing of the Cuban officers and their imprisoning which ranged from many years to life in jail has created diplomatic tensions on the already deteriorated relationship between Cuba and United States. This book recounts this story and offers the opportunity to both sides to express their viewpoint on this dramatic issue. 

While Washington treats the Cuban officers as spies, they are regarded in Cuba as heroes and fighters against terrorism. This matter constitutes a very troublesome issue between both nations and has a negative impact on the diplomatic relationship between United States and Cuba. 

It affects also the image of Washington on its war against terrorism since many people around the world have the perception the the Cuban officers are anti-terrorism fighters, to the point that ten Nobel Prize winners share the Cuban position with regards to the Cuban Five and have tried unsuccessfully that United States authorities release the jailed Cubans. 

The Cuban Five are symbols of anti-terrorism fighters for thousands of people around the world who constantly rally protesting and requesting the immediate release of the Cuban Five. The current President of Cuba, General Raul Castro, has even proposed to Obama's administration the release of all Cuban political prisoners in exchange for the release of the Cuban agents to which Washington opposes. 

The Cubalogues 
University Press of Florida October 17, 2010 ISBN-10: 0813035201
Todd F. Tietchen

"As an early supporter of the original non-Communist Cuban revolution, I much appreciate this story of the involvement of American beat poets with the Fidelista cause. Dubbed the 'Cubalogues,' their interaction with Cuban editors and poets is a unique part of Cuban cultural history, and it needs to be told to an American audience."--Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"An exciting, timely, and wide-ranging intervention which reassesses the Beat Movement, the Beat canon, Cold War politics, and the Cuban Revolution. . . . A tight, lively and skillful presentation of the topic."--Sarah MacLachlan, author of The Cambridge Introduction to Chicano/a Literature and Culture

Immediately after the Cuban Revolution, Havana fostered an important transnational intellectual and cultural scene. Later, Castro would strictly impose his vision of Cuban culture on the populace and the United States would bar its citizens from traveling to the island, but for these few fleeting years the Cuban capital was steeped in many liberal and revolutionary ideologies and influences.

Some of the most prominent figures in the Beat Movement, including Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Amiri Baraka, were attracted to the new Cuba as a place where people would be racially equal, sexually free, and politically enfranchised. What they experienced had resounding and lasting literary effects both on their work and on the many writers and artists they encountered and fostered.

Todd Tietchen clearly documents the multiple ways in which the Beats engaged with the scene in Havana. He also demonstrates that even in these early years the Beat movement expounded a diverse but identifiable politics.

A Black Soldier's Story: The Narrative of Ricardo Batrell and the Cuban War of Independence  
[Paperback]Univ Of Minnesota Press (October 11, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0816650098
Ricardo Batrell (Author), Mark A. Sanders (Editor)

In 1896, an illiterate, fifteen-year-old Afro-Cuban field hand joined the rebel army fighting for Cuba's independence. Though poor and uneducated, Ricardo Batrell believed in the promise of Cuba Libre, the vision of a democratic and egalitarian nation that inspired the Cuban War of Independence. 

After the war ended in 1898, Batrell taught himself to read and write and published a memoir of his wartime experiences, Para la Historia. Originally published in 1912-the same year in which the Cuban government massacred more than 5,000 Afro-Cubans-this work of both protest and patriotism is the only autobiographical account of the war written by an Afro-Cuban soldier.
After the war, Batrell became dismayed by the Cuban Republic's rapid retreat from the revolution's democratic ideals. Government corruption, racial discrimination, and the systematic exclusion of black veterans from public service had helped to reassert the racial hierarchy of colonial Cuba. 

With his memoir, Batrell hoped to remind Cubans about the participation of Afro-Cubans in the war (as much as 80 percent of the Cuban Liberation Army may have been Afro-Cuban) and to protest their subjugation in its aftermath.

Now available for the first time in English, Batrell's powerful memoir provides profound insights into the role of race in the nation's history. Deftly rendering Batrell's forceful and energetic prose into English, Mark A. Sanders also puts forth a critical introduction that contextualizes Batrell's perspective within Cuba's colonial history and its racial politics. 

Che Guevara: A Manga Biography 
Paperback Penguin (Non-Classics); Reprint edition 
October 26, 2010 Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143118161
Kiyoshi Konno (Author), Chie Shimano 
(Illustrator), Emotional Content (Collaborator)

His name is equated with rebellion, revolution, and socialism. His face is on tee-shirts all over the world. Che Guevara's life has been explored and portrayed in numerous books and films, including The Motorcycle Diaries, and he continues to captivate the public imagination more than forty years after his death. 

Guevara became politically active in his native Argentina, but gained notoriety after he met Fidel Castro and became instrumental in Castro's efforts in Cuba. Guevara then went on to Bolivia, where he was captured and killed by the Bolivian army while trying to incite revolution. This illustrated biography tells the riveting story of Che's life and death through the popular Japanese art form manga.

Cuba In War Time: Did Randloph Hearst's Reports Get the U.S. Into the Spanish American War? 
(Timeless Classic Books) Paperback CreateSpace 
(October 1, 2010) ISBN-10: 1453845666
Richard Harding Davis (Author), Timeless Classic Books (Designer)

RICHARD HARDING DAVIS (1864-1916) provides a captivating account of his own part in the guerrilla fighting leading up to Cuba's Spanish-American War of Independence. First published in 1897.Here is a recent online summary of Cuba In War Time: "Richard "Dick" Davis, one of the most popular newspaper writers and novelists at the turn of the 20th century, may well be the source of the image of the dashing war correspondent. He represented the growing power of the press as the mass media's influence was expanding, and this controversial 1898 book is an early example of the manipulative power of the press. 

Dispatched by William Randolph Hearst to cover the guerrilla war in Cuba for Hearst's newspaper the New York Journal, Davis filed vibrant, dramatic reports that may have brought the United States into the conflict, launching the Spanish-American War. Gathered in this book, and illustrated by Frederic Remington, is Davis's account of war-torn Cuba: muscular, adventurous prose about a dangerous time and place filled with a passion that infected his readers and may have changed the course of international affairs." Although the illustrations are only black and white pen and ink drawings and are not top notch quality, we have chosen to include them in this book as they were done by the famous artist Frederic Remington. 

The Havana Habit 
Hardcover- Yale University Press (October 26, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0300141327
Gustavo Perez Firmat

Cuba, an island 750 miles long, with a population of about 11 million, lies less than 100 miles off the U.S. coast. Yet the island’s influences on America’s cultural imagination are extensive and deeply ingrained.

In the engaging and wide-ranging Havana Habit, writer and scholar Gustavo Pérez Firmat probes the importance of Havana, and of greater Cuba, in the cultural history of the United States. Through books, advertisements, travel guides, films, and music, he demonstrates the influence of the island on almost two centuries of American life. 

From John Quincy Adams’s comparison of Cuba to an apple ready to drop into America’s lap, to the latest episodes in the lives of the “comic comandantes and exotic exiles,” and to such notable Cuban exports as the rumba and the mambo, cigars and mojitos, the Cuba that emerges from these pages is a locale that Cubans and Americans have jointly imagined and inhabited. The Havana Habit deftly illustrates what makes Cuba, as Pérez Firmat writes, “so near and yet so foreign.

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