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

Octavio Romano

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Retro Review: Rosa, La Flauta by Sergio Elizondo; New Books in October 2010; Baca to receive Luis Leal Award

Elizondo's 1980 short story collection filled with comedic and sly stories

by Raymundo Eli Rojas
Rosa, La Flauta is a collection of short stories in Spanish by Sergio Elizondo. Published off of Editorial Justa Publications (Berkeley, CA) in 1980, Rosa, La Flauta is a reminder of days when publishers use to publish Spanish-language Chicano texts. Don't get me wrong, I know at least one still does (I'm just bitchen).

Most of the short stories in Rosa, La Flauta are written in first person. The narrator may remind readers of the narrator in Tomas Rivera's … y no se lo trago la tierra.

The stories of Chicanos in various situations of work, family, and at time deep thoughts. The story “Obertura” is a simple conversation of a Chicano with his tía/aunt and they chismiar over times past, his tio, and other conversation items that pop up. Elizondo is well suited in writing comedic prose and ingrains his writing with Chicano slang.

- "Oiga tía; y ustedes no tenían donde ir a la escuela en aquellos teimpos?
- Pos sí pero quedaba lejo y pos una tenía que trabajar. Lo poco que sé yo lo aprendí con mi hermanda que era aleluya y me decía que leyera el testamento de la palabra de Dios. Y yo, pos, le hacía caso, y ella me jalaba pa la iglesia y me hacía ler las escrituras y así aprendí a ler un poco y pos aprendí a escribir mi nombre pos a fuerzas. Tu tío no, él decía que pa qué, y ay tienes pos que nunca aprendió nada, ¡ dios! ¡Pos no era muy cabeza dura!"

So goes the conversation between tia and nephew. At least two of the stories in this collection were hard to follow at times and tough to get through, but Elizondo's story “Coyote, Esta Noche” is a sly tale that gets you reading.

It isn't until you embedded into that story that you realize the narrator is the Coyote, stealing hens in the evening. The coyote describes how he does it: how to fool the humans, how to trick the stupid dogs, and to ignore the rooster. It's a neat piece because the coyote describes his plan to you (before he does the act). The stupid humans and dogs follow his plan exactly leaving the coyote unfamished.

The coyote goes into the farm and without hen, leads the dogs on a chase off the farm property. As Jose Alfredo Jimenez says/sings “Pero como era coyote Se devolvió de repente,” the coyote circles back around for the hen while the dogs are off still looking for him.

Elizondo writes a comedic and pondering short story collection and there is just something that stories written in Spanish have, that English-language stories miss. 


(Mouthfeel Press), 
Ir'ene Lara Silva

"Furia is a fastpaced fury of pain and protest, grief and truth, a mad excursion into the howling depths of that which makes us human, able to hate or love or speak.  ire’ne lara silva has included in this collection an exciting blend of styles—from the experimental litanies of words which echo, wrestle, and court each other, to the epic eloquence of works such as ‘i come from women illiterate and rough-skinned’  to a bare-boned escape beyond the limits of words such as ‘in my grief.’ Even in the darkest of depictions, the reader is drawn in, fed with the rawness and the reality of the emotion, fed with the power of truth.  ire’ne lara silva brings us a poetry sharp and dark and powerful, and changes forever our expectations of what a poet can do beneath, between, and beyond the words."      
 -- Carmen Tafolla

Western Cultural Symbols in Latin American and Chicano Literature: An Historical and Semiotic Analysis
Hardcover - Edwin Mellen Pr October 11, 2010
ISBN-10: 0773413014
Daniel Breining

This book explains the fundamentals of semiotic theory and applies it to more than twenty works by Latin American and Mexican American authors in a variety of genres and across a span of more than five hundred years, from pre-Hispanic times to the late twentieth century. Semiotics, language and linguistic symbols, have been successfully used to analyze social and cultural constructs of power and identity for many years. However no one has previously applied these signs to Latin American and Chicano literature from pre-Hispanic times to the late twentieth century. The analysis during this timeframe and in these fields is a fertile means for investigating social interactions, cultural anomalies, and political situations. 

Jose Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in Nineteenth-Century Texas
(Watson Caufield and Mary Maxwell Arnold Republic of Texas Series)
[Paperback]Texas State Historical Assn (October 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0876112440
David R. McDonald (Author), De Leon Arnoldo (Foreword)

The first biography to appear in more than a generation on the most influential Tejano leader of the nineteenth century, José Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in 19th-Century Texas fills one of the most glaring gaps in the current historical literature on Texas. 

The product of a lifetime of research by author David McDonald, this volume is sure to stand as the definitive treatment of Navarro’s life for decades to come. McDonald corrects many long-standing misconceptions concerning Navarro and fleshes out the details of his life in a way no author has done before.

Born in San Antonio in 1795, José Antonio Navarro lived through a tumultuous era in Texas history that saw the transitions of Texas from a Spanish colony to a Mexican state, an independent republic, an American state, a Confederate state, and an American state once again. More than just bearing witness to these events, however, José Antonio Navarro helped shape them. 

He served in the legislatures of Coahuila y Texas, the Republic of Texas, and the state of Texas. He was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a steadfast defender of the rights of all Tejanos and people of Mexican descent in Texas, ensuring at both the 1836 Consultation that created the Texas Republic and the 1845 drafting of the state constitution after annexation that political rights would not be restricted solely to those with white skin and pure European ancestry.

José Antonio Navarro: In Search of the American Dream in Nineteenth-Century Texas is more than just a political biography; it is a story of the American Dream. Navarro and his family worked hard to improve their lives on the Texas frontier, starting with his father, an immigrant from the Mediterranean island of Corsica. 

Navarro was not only an influential politician, but a successful businessman and rancher. This pattern of improvement continued into the next generation of the family when Navarro’s son Ángel entered Harvard College to study law. José Antonio Navarro was also an early friend of Stephen F. Austin, sharing a vision of Texas with the famed empresario in which both Tejanos and Anglos could thrive. Navarro believed that Texas was a place where peoples of all colors and backgrounds should be able to realize the American Dream.

Vineyards and Vaqueros: Indian Labor and the Economic Expansion of Southern California, 1771-1877 
(Before Gold: California Under Spain and Mexico Series)
Hardcover - Arthur H Clark - October 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0870623915
George Harwood Phillips

Indian labor was vital to the early economic development of the Los Angeles region. This first volume in the new series Before Gold: California under Spain and Mexico explores for the first time Native contributions to early Southern California.

Opening with a survey of the economic dimension of traditional southern California Indian cultures, Phillips then examines the origins and collapse of the missions, the emergence and expansion of the pueblo of Los Angeles, and the creation and decline of the ranchos. 

He closely considers the Indians incorporation into these foreign-imposed institutions and the resulting impact on the region s economy and society. While concentrating on the Tongvas (Gabrielinos), Phillips also considers Indians who entered the region from the south.

Based on exhaustive research, Phillips s account focuses on California Indians more as workers than as victims. He describes the work they performed and how their relations evolved with the missionaries, settlers, and rancheros who employed them. Phillips emphasizes the importance of Indian labor in shaping the economic history of what is now Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties. 

Featuring more than two-dozen illustrations and maps, Vineyards and Vaqueros demonstrates that no history of the region is complete without a consideration of the Indian contribution. 

Consuming Mexican Labor: From the Bracero Program to NAFTA 1942-2009
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division
October 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 1442601582
Ronald Mize

Mexican migration to the United States and Canada has a long and very fraught history, and remains a highly contentious issue in the eyes of many North Americans. Consuming Mexican Labor covers the time period from the Bracero Program (1942-64) to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to demonstrate how Mexicans have been actively encouraged to migrate northward when labor markets are in short supply, only to be turned back during economic downturns.

The book is divided into three parts: the first looks at the Bracero Program and the subsequent backlash against Mexican farm workers in the United States; the second part looks at attempts by Mexican immigrants to organize effectively and resist exploitation; and the final section offers a contemporary look at Mexican communities across the continent, from traditional areas like California and the American Midwest to less traditional areas like the American Southeast and Canada. 

The result is a comprehensive and up-to-date look at how consumption needs in North America have significantly shaped the ebbs and flows of Mexican migration

Jimmy Santiago Baca to receive the UC Santa Barbara's 2010 Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature. Read more.

CNJOnline says Rudolfo Anaya's Bless me, Ultima will come to the stage: "New Mexico's beloved novel, Bless Me, Ultima, by Santa Rosa native and acclaimed Chicano writer, Rudolfo Anaya, comes to the stage at Marshall Auditorium, Saturday, October 23, 7p.m. in its southwest premiere. Adapted by Mr. Anaya in collaboration with Albuquerque's Vortex Theatre and the National Hispanic Cultural Center...." READ MORE.

A new blog is out by children's book illustrator Rafael Lopez: Rafael Lopez Children's Books. Check it out!

Another Type of Groove: Spoken Word Poetry (ATOG) brings poet Ike Torres to Cal Poly’s campus Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium. GET ALL THE DETAILS.

No iron curtain on the border. When Benjamin Alire Saenz is not winning awards, he blogging. Check out his latest series: Juarez Doesn't Stop at the Border. It's a lecture he gave at Truman State University in Missouri, yes the same one where Winston Churchill gave his "Iron Curtain" speech.

Matt de la Pena's book I Will Save You is in stores, at least that is what his blog says: I Will save Your -- In Stores Today:  "y fourth novel, I Will Save You, hits bookstores everywhere today. It’s the story of a depressed Kid named Kidd, who finds himself in a bizarre love triangle with a wealthy blonde girl and his psychopathic ex-best friend. Someone is bound to get hurt."

Check out Michele Otero's concentrations on New Mexico governor candidate Susana Martinez (Republican): "Now Susana Martinez is positioning herself to become, not only New Mexico’s, but the nation’s first Latina governor. (Alas, I will have to pursue some other Latina first in The Land of Enchantment. Sorry, Mrs. Grace.)" READ THE POST.

Make sure to catch this interview with Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano. I neat little piece. SEE IT NOW.

If you enjoyed our satire article Book Publishers Announce Moratorium on New Books Submissions. check out National Public Radio's (NPR) Three Book to Help You Enjoy the Apocalypse.

La Jornada posted an article about the Monterrey Book Fair and honoring the late Carlos Monisvais. Read it now.

In our Libros, Libros, we have mentioned many book by Dr. Ernesto "Che" Guevara over the years. Check out this article in The Guardian, "Reading Che Guevara in his own words."

Old news already, but it's nice when a Latin American wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. I'm just waiting for a Chicano(a) to win. Check out William Boyd's tribute to Mario Vargas Llosa in The Guardian. READ IT NOW. Also check out Cuban (no not Miami, the island itself) blogger Yoani Sanchez take on Mario Vargas Llosa: Mario Vargas Llosa: A Nobel Long Delayed.

Think I'm a harsh critic, Rigoberto Gonzalez writes few negatives reviews now and then (see the one he did on The Madonnas of Echo Park), Daniel Olivas too hard on your book. Shit, I think the only book I've been hard on was the Tequila Worm. Anyway, think we are bad, see "Young Critics competition unearths serious reviewers."
Last review I read of a book on Condi mentioned her parents taking her to marches during the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama, but watching from the side lines as MLK and others marched. Well, a new memoir is out by Condi, see Condi's Moving Civil Rights Story Can't Trump Her Role in Bush's Despicable Iraq Folly.

Poets and Writer has rated MFA program, I think for two years now, much to the AWP's (American Writers Programs, something like that) snarl. Seth Abramson lists the Top 25 Underrated MFA Program.

The New York Review of Books ask if we can create a national digital library, one open to the everyone: Read the story now.

Lots of good art coming from the illustrators of Chicano and Latino children's books. Check out Children's Librarian Says Picture Books Still Thrive.

What do Ginsberg (poet not the justice), Burroughs, and Kerouac have in common with the Tea Party? See Lee Siegel's essays, "The Beat Generation and the Tea Party."

Conflicts in NPR's coverage of a book by one of its own? Is NPR Trying to Sell Michele Norris' New Book?

Well, some self promotion, but check out "A book Cover is Everything": "Some people think that book cover design happens in just a few moments, but that’s not the case. "

For those of you not yet U.S. Citizens, "Applying for Citizenship? U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Wants to Be Your “Friend,” says the Electronic Frontier Foundation: "EFF recently received new documents as a result of our FOIA lawsuit on social network surveillance, filed with the help of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Clinic, that reveal two ways the government has been tracking people online: surveillance of social networks to investigate citizenship petitions and the Department of Homeland Security’s use of a “Social Networking Monitoring Center” to collect and analyze online public communication during President Obama’s inauguration." 

"If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you should take special care that you’re not risking an invasion of privacy or defamation charge," ask Amy Cook in "A Legal Checklist for Writers" in Writer's Digest See the post.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: