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

Octavio Romano

Sunday, October 24, 2010

VH1 on Your A____: 21 Great Things in Chicano(a) Literature in the 1990s

The '90s: Twenty-one Things that made Chicano Literature in the 1990's Rock

Remembering the 1990s: We go VH1 on your ass with a list of great stuff in Chicano Lit from the 1990s.

  1. The Chicano Chapbook Series, edited by Gary Soto. Names like Danny Romero, Rich Yañez, Rigoberto González, and Francisco Aragon among others have become mainstays. Others not so much but probably in seclusion writing the next great Chicano novel.   
  2. La CLICA – before the blogosphere took off and before social media we were limited to listserves and just lists of writers email addresses. Yañez ran La CLICA which was an email newsletterish update on what was happening with Chicano and Latino writers. Don't ask me what CLICA stands for, I don't remember, oh wait: Chicano(a) Latino(a) Internet Community Alliance. Here's a link to its inactive blog, but note it predated the blogosphere. I hope I placed this in the right decade.
  3. El Toque - Clyde Torres would give us a dose of pachuco Spanglish/Engpansol with a more Chicano-centric look at literature updates on veterano writers, amusing lashing out at Ilan Stavans, and more. Here's a link to its inacive blog, but please not that it existed before the rise of bloggin.
  4. The Vietnam War Chicano(a) Literature: A host of writing by Chicanas and Chicanos hit us in the late 1990s such as Daniel Cano, Charlie Trujillo, Alfredo Vea, Jr., George Mariscal, Gloria Velasquez, Norma Cantu, Michael Rodríguez, Diego Vazquez, Jr., Stella Pope Duarte and more.
  5. Rise of Calaca Press, giving Chicano(a) literature a much-needed dose of politically charged poetry, prose, and spoken word, and art, as well as reverence to Chicano(a) veterano writers and human rights.
  6. First novels by Denise Chávez, Dagoberto Gilb, Benjamin A. Sáenz, Ixta Maya Murrey among others.
  7. Last books from Arturo Islas, Ernesto Trejo, Carlos Cortez, José Antonio Burciaga, José Montalvo, Ricardo Sánchez, and Andres Montoya.
  8. Gloria Velasquez scandal causing YA books: Tommy Stands Alone and Juanita Fights the School Board.
  9. The blossoming of Chicano(a) mystery fiction with Manuel Ramos, Lucha Corpi, Rudolfo Anaya, Michael Nava, Max Martinez, Martin Limón, Ricardo Means Ybarra
  10. The blossoming of Chicano(a) children's fiction.
  11. The further growth of Chicana theater and performance with Denise Chávez, Monica Palacios, Josefina López, Cherrie Moraga,among others.
  12. Lorna Dee Cervantes long-awaited second book of poetry: From the Cables of Genocide.
  13. The Chiclit Listserve. Again before social media and blogs, this was the forum for Chicano Literature. Plus, it contained more literary criticism news, something that has not been replaced.
  14. Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage – I don't remember if this started in the 1990s, but I think it did. “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project is a national project to locate, preserve and disseminate Hispanic culture of the United States in its written form since colonial times until 1960.” The project has given new life to works we may have forgotten.
  15. Blossoming of playwrights such as Octavio Solis, Luis Alfaro, Rick Najera, Rogelio Martinez, some not Chicano(a) but oh well. Many of them first published collectively in Latino Plays from the South Coast Repertory Theater.
  16. A host of kick ass literary criticism from Chicana scholars as well as the rise of a new generation of Lesbian Chicana scholars.
  17. Publication of modern classics like Rain of Gold, So Far from God, Why Am I So Brown?, Parrot in the Oven, Always Running to name a few.
  18. Birth of the Camino del Sol Series at University of Arizona Press.
  19. Pocho.com: Pocho.com come entertained us with weekly satire news articles like “Bush Admits Not Having Sex with a Donkey in the last 7 years.”
  20. Flourishing of Chicano(a) writing from the Midwest (especially Wisconsin, Chicago,a and Minnesota) with I didn’t know there were Latinos in Wisconsin, Brenda Cardenas, March/Abrazo Press, Coffee House Press, among other books, presses, and authors.
  21. Latino and Latino World War II Oral History Project - with oral histories by veterans, among them many of our beloved writers and activists who served in WWII like Felipe Ortego, Albert Armendariz, Sr., among others.

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