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

Octavio Romano

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

El Paso Writers Update and New Books in November 2010

Well, I've been a bit down lately. I think I'm coming down with something, but here's an update.

The Fronterizos in Exile: A Reading of Border Writers and Expatriates is on for Dec. 29.  The event will be a holiday-time reunion of sorts of local writers and expats. The event will take place at The Loftlight Studio, at S. El Paso Street in Downtown El Paso, Texas, at 7pm, Wednesday, Dec. 29

Take this Christmas Day-New Year Day interlude and catch up with border expats and the locals.  The event will begin with some border expats including Amalio Medueno, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez, Rosalia Solarzano, and Robb Chavez, but walk-in expats are welcome to attend and read. An open mic for non-expats will follow, sign up is at 6:30pm. Acoustical instrumentalist are also welcome. Seating is casual, so bring your sleeping bags, lawn chairs, folding chairs, etc. For more information, and/or to get on the reading list, call (915) 258-0989 or email rayerojas@gmail.com.

Paredes and Higher Ed in Texas

Raymund Paredes (left) and Diana Natalico (right)

Raymund Paredes is in the news regarding Texas higher education funding. "There could be a change coming in the way public universities and community colleges in Texas are funded. The state Higher Education Coordinating Board is backing a plan that would put a greater emphasis on performance in order for schools to receive a part of their base funding, " David Pitman explains. Hear the story.(KUHF Houston).

Also see, Agency Calls for Changes to 'Reinvent Pubic Texas Colleges'. "We want to reinvent public higher education – reinvent it in a more cost-efficient way and reinvent it in a way that gives better academic results," said Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes. "And we think that we can do that. I'm sure we'll need more financial resources over time, but not nearly as much as we would need if we didn't change the way we deliver education." 

Paredes is also quoted in Push for Performance. Also, see the Austin American-Statesman, Reactions mixed on plan to change higher education funding.

Mora to speak at National Council of Teachers of English Convention

The Poetry for Children Blog has posted an interview with Pat Mora READ IT NOW. Mora says, "At this point in my life, my key challenge remains creating the quiet to write—and I’m alone most of the time!"Mora will participate in a round table at the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Florida, Nov. 21. For more details click here. Also check out More on Mora.

Chicano Librarianship

Check out this article by Elizabeth Martinez on Chicano Librarianship which mentions Ruben Salazar and more: "August 29, 2010, marked the 40th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles, and it brought back many memories. I was part of a library contingent marching in 1970 in protest of the disproportionate number of Mexican Americans dying in the Vietnam War; some 30,000 other Chicanos were marching too. After the police tear-gassed the peaceful youth and families listening to music and speakers in Laguna Park (now Salazar Park), we fled to the nearest library, the Stephenson branch (now El Camino Real Library), where Library Assistant Flora Bailes closed the door behind us and sheltered us until we felt safe to travel the streets." READ MORE.

New York Hustlers and more

WAYNE R. DYNES  of the blog Homolexis reviews the book New York Hustlers: Masculinity and Sex in Modern America (Manchester University Press, 2010) by Barry Reay. "This fascinating but problematic book deals with the relationships of hustlers, usually straight-identified though bisexual in practice, and their paying johns, focusing on the middle decades of the 20th century. As primary sources Reay uses archival material obtained at the Kinsey Institute and other such repositories. 

He fleshes out these finds with nuggets gleaned from Tennessee Williams, Mart Crowley's "The Boys and the Band," and other high-culture products. Of necessity the result is one-sided, since there is relatively little that is available from the hustler's point of view. The books of John Rechy, who worked as a hustler in NYC and elsewhere, are a seeming exception. Yet Rechy is a sophisticated literary artist and intellectual--scarcely a typical male sex worker." READ MORE.

Rechy Community Page on Facebook

A Facebook Community page has been created for John Rechy. Check it out at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Rechy/108659509157984?sk=wiki

Last Prince Reviewed

See a review of Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (C.M. Mayo) at the Girls Just Reading Blog. "...sweeping novel that shows how messed up politics have always been and how monarchs tried to build empires any where they saw fit. In the last 1800s when America was going through our Civil War, Mexico was at a state of unrest as well. The French had come in and taken over and were now at war with various factions of bandits throughout the country." READ MORE.

Gilb on Creative Writing Programs

Dagoberto Gilb has another publishing. Check out Poet Ai in the Cimmarron Review: " I don’t trust creative writing programs. I don’t believe listening to tenure-track teachers and selected peers in seminar rooms is so much better than writing near a boulevard with fading lines or a plowed field, that obsessing on technique and contacts makes for better writers than 40-hours a week and a boss, living and hearing stories." READ MORE. See Pluma Fronteriza's interview with Gilb.

Luis J. Rodriguez finishes book

Luis J. Rodriguez let us know on his blog that he has finished his next book, It Calls You Back: A Writer’s Odyssey through Love, Addictions, Revolution & Healing and sent it off to the publisher. Rodriguez says it is a sequel to Always Running and is set for release in the fall 2011. READ MORE.

Saenz at YALSA Symposium

See a summary of Benjamin A. Saenz' comments from a panel at the Young Adult Library Services Association Symposium on the YALSA blog. READ NOW.

Also, Ben's book The Book of What Remains (Copper Canyon Press) was rated one of the Top 10 Books of the Year by Anis Shivani on the Huffington Post.

Ray Gonzalez Hammered

Ray Gonzalez' poem "Rattlesnakes Hammered on the Wall" is posted on anotherhand.livejornal.com. READ IT NOW.

Notes on Rosa Alcala

Some note on University of Texas, El Paso creative writing professor, Rosa Alcala's "Undocumentaries" at the Similes Blog.


New Books in November 2010

Hardcover University of New Mexico Press November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 0826348947
Jose Rivera

In 1900 Celedonio Mondragon and several other San Luis valley residents formed the Sociedad Proteccion Matua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) to help prevent the usurpation of Hispanic land ownership and to combat discrimination against wage laborers.

The SPMDTU rapidly grew into a tristate organization with sixty-five local concilios (lodges) in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. Hispanic mutual aid societies proliferated at the turn of the twentieth century, providing such services as religious aid, burial funding, low-cost insurance, and fraternal support.

The SPMDTU consolidated relief and support services and became a powerful force in helping families survive the transformations wrought by the influx of Anglos, the federal government, and new technologies.

In the early twentieth century, the federal government became the primary welfare service provider for rural communities, but the SPMDTU has survived in the Southwest, continuing its traditions of fellowship and support.

Beginning with the social and economic conditions that gave rise to La Sociedad and culminating with its centennial anniversary in 2000, Jose Rivera examines the SPMDTU as a case study of collective action in the context of a pluralistic American society, rapid social change, and the dynamics of mobilization for cultural survival.

Rivera's study explores the core values that have bonded SPMDTU members across generations and have sustained the organization for more than a century and addresses the question of whether or not La Sociedad will survive in the twenty-first century.

Paperback University of New Mexico Press
November 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0826349188
Gregory B. Weeks (Author), John R. Weeks (Author)

The politics, social issues, and cultural impacts of Latin American migration to the United States are often studied by historians and political scientists, but the regional focus is typically on the Southwest and California.

This study examines the phenomenon of the impact of Latin American migration on the southeastern United States, a region that now has the nation's fastest growing immigrant population.

Incorporating a political demography approach, this study seeks to provide a clear understanding of the complex dynamics of migration with particular emphasis on the unique demographic fit between the United States and Latin America.

This fit arises from one region needing young workers while the other has more than its economy can absorb. Although a relatively simple concept, it is one that has largely been ignored in the political discussions of migration policy. This study argues that the social and political ramifications of and policy responses to Latin American immigration can best be understood when viewed in light of these circumstances.

Hardcover University of New Mexico Press November 16, 2010
ISBN-10: 0826347541
Ian Graham

For anyone who ever wanted to be an archaeologist, Ian Graham could be a hero. This lively memoir chronicles Graham's career as the 'last explorer' and a fierce advocate for the protection and preservation of Maya sites and monuments across Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.

It is also full of adventure and high society, for the self-deprecating Graham has traveled in wonderful company and tells entertaining stories about his encounters with a host of notables beginning with Rudyard Kipling, a family friend from Graham's childhood.

Born in 1923 into an aristocratic family descended from Oliver Cromwell, Ian Graham was educated at Winchester, Cambridge, and Trinity College, Dublin. His career in Mesoamerican archaeology can be said to have begun in 1959 when turned south in his Rolls and began traveling through the Maya lowlands photographing ruins.

He has worked as an artist, cartographer, and photographer, and has mapped and documented inscriptions at hundreds of Maya sites, persevering under rugged field conditions. Graham is best known as the founding director of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Program at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

He was awarded a MacArthur Foundation 'genius grant' in 1981, and dedicatedly remained the Maya Corpus program director until his retirement in 2004. Graham's careful recording of Maya inscriptions are often credited with making the deciphering of Maya hieroglyphics possible. But it is the romance of his work and the graceful conversational style of his writing that make this autobiography must reading not just for Mayanists but for anyone with a taste for the adventure of archaeology.

University of New Mexico Press November 16, 2010
ISBN-10: 0826347630 Hardcover
Miguel Angel Astor-Aguilera

Although anthropologists have been observing and analyzing the religious practices of Mayan people for about a hundred years, this perceptive study suggests that anthropological interpretation of those practices and of Maya cosmology has never escaped the epistemological influence of Christianity. 

Whereas the objects used in Christian rituals are treated with reverence, such ritual objects as Mayan crosses can be used, reused, enshrined, communicated with or manipulated, disregarded, or destroyed - the apparent equivalent of defacing the image of Christ or the Virgin Mary. Astor-Aguilera holds that we cannot understand these practices by trying to fit them into a European Cartesian mindset but must instead recognize and try to understand indigenous Mayan epistemology. 

The western concept of religion, he suggests, is not the framework for understanding Mayan cosmology or practice. Using ethnographic, archaeological, and glyphic evidence, he traces modern Mayan attitudes toward sacrality and sacred objects back to Classic Maya beliefs. No scholar of Maya religion, archaeology, or history can afford to overlook this long overdue approach to a widely misunderstood subject.

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