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

Octavio Romano

Thursday, December 23, 2010

New Non-fiction and Poetry Books in December 2010 and Y2K Retrospective Part II - Poetry

New Nonfiction, Poetry, and Children's Books in December 2010

University of Minnesota Press 2010
ISBN 978-0-8166-5615-8
ISBN 978-0-8166-5614-1
First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies Series
M. Bianet Castellanos

Tourism, consumption, migration, and the Maya in Cancún, A Return to Servitude is an ethnography of Maya migration within Mexico that analyzes the foundational role indigenous peoples play in the development of the modern nation-state. Focusing on tourism in the Yucatán Peninsula, M. Bianet Castellanos demonstrates how indigenous communities experience, resist, and accommodate themselves to transnational capitalism.

Raspas Arte Público Press; Bilingual edition Nov 30,
2010 ISBN-10: 1558855750), Lupe Ruiz-Flores (Author),
Alisha Gambino (Illustrator), Amira Plascencia
It was so hot in Caliente, Texas, that the townspeople gulped gallons of lemonade and poured buckets of water over their heads, but they couldn't stay cool.

Swinging on the front porch with her mother, Elena suddenly has an idea. Raspas -- icy cold snow cones -- are what the neighbors need to stay cool. And she can make and sell the refreshing treats from a stand in her own front yard! So with the help of her parents, Elena soon has a stand and the items needed to make and sell the snow cones. Before long everyone is lining up to buy the frosty delights in delicious flavors.

Elena's best friend Alma watches her friend's success from across the street and decides to start her own snow cone stand. And so begins the battle of the snow cones, with each girl devising ever more elaborate plans to attract clients: decorating their stands with colorful Mexican crepe paper flowers and papel picado, adding exotic flavors such as coconut and mango to their menus, staging puppet shows and even a folkloric dance. The girls' ice shaving machines furiously crank out raspas, until one day both machines go bonkers!

Readers will enjoy the girls' clever antics to attract customers in this lively, colorful picture book for children ages 4 - 8. And just as important, children will learn--along with Elena and Alma--that competitors can still be friends.

Chicana and Chicano Visions of the Americas Series, Vol. 8
Paperback Univ of Oklahoma Pr (Txt) December 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0806141484ISBN-13: 978-0806141480
Kirk Nesset (Author, Editor)

Eugenio Montejo was one of the most significant Latin American poets and essayists of the past half century. Montejo (who died in 2008) was awarded both the National Prize for Literature in his native Venezuela and the prestigious Octavio Paz International Poetry and Essay Prize. This long-overdue volume offers selections from all ten of Montejo's books of poetry, as well as a handful of exemplary prose works. 

All of the selections are presented here in the original Spanish, with translations in English by Kirk Nesset, a prize-winning American writer and poet.

Alphabet of the World reveals Montejo's themes and stylistic range as it charts his formal and emotional trajectory. The poems offer meditations on the subject of time, on the immutability of spirit, on eros and birth, and on the role of language in all things human. The book also includes excerpts from Montejo's Notebook of Blas Coll and Guitar of the Horizon, and three complete essays selected specifically for the insight and depth they lend to his work in both genres.
The book s introduction situates and appraises Montejo's achievement, exploring the corpus comprehensively for the first time in English. Alphabet of the World marks Montejo's U.S. debut, a major stride toward winning him the English-speaking recognition he deserves.

The Mexican Experience Series Paperback 
University of Nebraska Press December 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0803228449
ISBN-13: 978-0803228443
Prof. Colin M. MacLachlan PhD (Author), William H. Beezley (Author)

After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, it began the work of forging its identity as an independent nation, a process that would endure throughout the crucial nineteenth century. 

A weakened Mexico faced American territorial ambitions and economic pressure, and the U.S.-Mexican War threatened the fledgling nation’s survival. In 1876 Porfirio Díaz became president of Mexico, bringing political stability to the troubled nation. Although Díaz initiated long-delayed economic development and laid the foundation of modern Mexico, his government was an oligarchy created at the expense of most Mexicans.

This accessible account guides the reader through a pivotal time in Mexican history, including such critical episodes as the reign of Santa Anna, the U.S.-Mexican War, and the Porfiriato. Colin M. MacLachlan and William H. Beezley recount how the century between Mexico’s independence and the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution had a lasting impact on the course of the nation’s history.

Transforming Borders: Chicana/o Popular Culture and Pedagogy
Hardcover Lexington Books December 16, 2010
ISBN-10: 073914779X
ISBN-13: 978-0739147795
C. Elenes (Author) 

Transforming Borders Chicana/o Popular Culture and Pedagogy situates Chicana feminists' re-imagining of La Llorona, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and Malintzin/Malinche as sources of border/transformative pedagogies. In doing so, C. Alejandra Elenes contributes to the scholarship on transformative pedagogies by adding the voices of Chicana feminist pedagogies, epistemologies, and ontologies. 

Linking the relationship between cultural practices, knowledge, and teaching in everyday life, Elenes develops h er conceptualization of border/transformative pedagogies.

Paperback University of New Mexico Press December 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 082634898X
ISBN-13: 978-0826348982
Heather McCrea

Throughout recorded history, epidemics have touched every aspect of life, including commerce, travel, agriculture, religious ritual, education, and political campaigns. In the tropical region of Yucatan, Mexico, which hosted a plethora of diseases, the violent resistance of various Mayan groups to state exploitation created one of the least understood but most significant threats to Mexican rule since the Conquest. 

As protection of one's own health -- as well as control over individual and collective bodies -- came to be ingrained in the imagined community that elites sought to construct, public health campaigns became symbols of modernization and an extension of the state's efforts to remake clean citizens out of what some perceived as the filthy, the disorderly, and the rebellious. Their medical plans and legislation, however, often ran counter to long-practiced rituals of burial, mourning, food preparation, and sick care in the region.

This study examines the politics of post-colonial state-building through the lens of disease and public health policy in order to trace how indigenous groups on the periphery of power and geography helped shape the political practices and institutions of modern Mexico. 

Placing Yucatan at the center of an international labor force, global economics (due to the henequen boom), and a modernizing medical establishment, Heather McCrea incorporates the region into a larger discussion about socioeconomic change and the pervasive role that health care, or lack thereof, plays in human society.

Heather McCrea is assistant professor of history at Kansas State University.

University of Minnesota Press 2010
ISBN 978-0-8166-6959-2
ISBN 978-0-8166-6958-5
Mark C. Jerng

How transracial adoption and its history changes the way we see family, nation, and race.

Transracial adoption has recently become a hotly contested subject of contemporary and critical concern, with scholars across the disciplines working to unravel its complex implications. In Claiming Others, Mark C. Jerng traces the practice of adoption to the early nineteenth century, revealing its surprising centrality to American literature, law, and social thought.

"Claiming Others is a pioneering study that provides high-level theoretical grounding for a new field. Transracial/transnational interactions are basic to American adoption history from the early nineteenth century, he demonstrates; they didn't just begin in the 1950s. Jerng makes intellectual and aesthetic sense of writings by and about a new community of transracial and transnational adoptees as he discusses their new modes of personhood. This book will be essential to anyone attempting a theoretically informed discussion of adoption and culture."
-Marianne Novy, author of Reading Adoption: Family and Difference in Fiction and Drama

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Y2K Retrospective: A Look Back at Chican@ Poetry Books in 2000, Party II

Read Part I
Read Y2K Retrospective Novels

Winner of the Poesia Tejana Prize
Paperback Wings Press (TX)
ISBN-10: 0930324625
ISBN-13: 978-0930324629
Carolina Monsivais

"I drop a rope inside myself and with callused hands covered with blood I pull on the rope that has my strength on the other end."

So reads an untitled poem, descending like a rope down a page in Carolina Monsivais' small book of poetry "Somewhere between Houston and El Paso,". "Women play a big role in Monsivais' poetry, which includes poems about a sister, grandmother, a mother with cancer and many nameless women with fresh wounds delivered by their spouses. In one poem, the poet even describes fellow El Pasoan Cecilia Rodriguez. In the poem, Rodriguez, Monsivais describes the Zapatista rebellion of 1994 to a Houston audience: "She brought to us stories of pueblerinos whose names we'd later write on paper tombs during a protest of their massacre." The title poem states:

As always, I anticipate the sunset
that greets me with a different face
each time I make my way back home
to desert, I carry always right
below skin in sand-swept pulses,
It drops red, behind mountains ... .

Monsivais' work is one that the reader will soak up and cherish. Her future looks bright, and we hope she keeps her pen flowing. --- Raymundo Eli Rojas, El Paso Times

Camino Del Sol Series Paperback
University of Arizona Press 2000
ISBN-10: 0816519862 ISBN-13: 978-0816519866
Juan Felipe Herrera 

The highlands of Chiapas are smoldering with death. In the winter of 1997, paramilitary agents ambushed and killed many Mayan villagers in Acteal, Chiapas. 

Gifted writer Juan Felipe Herrera has composed a stirring poem sequence -- published in a bilingual format--written in response and homage to those who died, as well as to all those who call for peace and justice in the Mexican highlands and throughout the Americas. 
Thunderweavers is a story of violent displacements in the lives of the most impoverished residents of southern Mexico, the Tzotzil Tzeltal campesinos. 

It deals with the destruction of a people and all evidence of their lives: Why am I Tzotzil?
Why was I born in this land of so many storms?
I plant corn and yet I reap gunpowder
I plant coffee and yet I reap mad spirits
I plant my house and yet I reap the viscera
of this fallen earth. 

The sections are written in the voices of four women from a family in Chiapas: Xunka, a lost twelve-year-old girl; Pascuala, the mother; grandmother Maruch; and Makal, an older daughter who is pregnant. Each voice weaves into the others and speaks for still other members of the larger Mayan and Native American family. 

Herrera, a major Chicano poet known for his expansive, surreal writing, here takes on a spare and lyrical style in the tradition of Rosario Castellanos, recalling as well the canto legacy of Pablo Neruda and the testimonial call of Ernesto Cardenal. Thunderweavers is a poetic account of transcendence and continuity in the midst of chaos, suffering, and war-a Mayan cycle of personal, physical, and spiritual struggles that Indian women have been continuously engaged in for th-a past five hundred years. 

Camino Del Sol Series Hardcover
Publisher: University of Arizona Press (January 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0816519641 ISBN-13: 978-0816519644
Ray Gonzalez

The rhythm of vision, the rhythm of dream, the rhythm of voices saturating the hot southwestern landscape. These are the rhythms of Ray Gonzalez, the haunting incantations of Turtle Pictures.
Gonzalez has forged a new Chicano manifesto, a cultural memoir that traces both his personal journey and the communal journey that Mexican Americans have traveled throughout this century, across this land. 

He interweaves lyrical poetry, prose poems, short fiction, and nonfiction commentary into a lush cacophony that traces the evolution of today's politically charged Chicano voices from the deafening silence of their ancestors. 

Adopting the turtle as a metaphor for the Native American origins of border culture, Gonzalez frames this multitextured individual vision until it becomes a universal portrait of American life: a slow, ancient creature morphing into one of voracious rapidity. In wild and challenging surrealistic images, he hammers out a political statement from language that takes on a special urgency. 

Walking a fine line between lyricism and polemic, and succeeding where others have stumbled, he calls on Mexican Americans to return to their roots in order to avoid being swept up in American material culture. 

Turtle Pictures is a complex body of work by a poet totally in tune with the spirit and nuances of language, imbued with a deep sense of craft and literary tradition. It invites readers to revel in its richness and vitality, to be caught up in its chantlike spirit, to luxuriate in its hauntingly beautiful passages. It is a work to devour, to savor, to return to, for it speaks with all the rhythms of the soul. 

Paperback Cinco Puntos Press 2000
ISBN-10: 0938317520 ISBN-13: 978-0938317524
Luis Alberto Urrea (Author), Jose Galvez (Photographer)

One evening, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jos Galvez heard Luis Alberto Urrea read "Hymn to Vatos Who Will Never Be in a Poem" with its chant-like repetitions and its evocation of Chicano manhood. 

As Urrea read each line, an image clicked in Jos's memory, and he knew that he had already taken that photograph. The result of that experience is this remarkable book.

Vatos is street slang for dude, guy, pal, brother. It sprang from the highly stylized language of the Pachucos (los chukotes) in the '50s. It's a Chicano term derived from the once-common friendly insult chivato, or goat. It had a slightly unacceptable air to it, which the Locos and Weesas of the Chuco world enjoyed. They were able to take the sting out of racism by calling themselves a bunch of names assimilated "good Mexicans" didn't like. 

Camino Del Sol Series Paperback University of Arizona Press July 1, 2000
ISBN-10: 0816520437 ISBN-13: 978-0816520435
Diana García 

"I write what I eat and smell," says Diana Garcia, and her words are a bountiful harvest. Her poems color the page with the vibrancy and sweetness of figs, the freshness of tortillas, and the sensuality of language. In this collection, she takes a bittersweet look back at the migrant labor camps of California and offers a tribute to the people who toiled there.

Camino Del Sol Series Paperback 
University of Arizona Press 2000
ISBN-10: 0816519854 ISBN-13: 978-0816519859
Juan Felipe Herrera

A poetic collage of voices, genres, and time-spaces. A postmodern performance of naked figures hanging in the nebulae of a militarized universe. A new millennium cubist manifesto against decrepit political machines. A mystic song in search of birth and love. . . . Juan Felipe Herrera's natural talent for capturing the raw dimensions of reality merges here with his wild imagination and technical prowess. 

Things, names, places, histories, herstories, desires, wills, minds, and their effects and progeny are re-mixed, re-mastered, and re-cast into a new narrative theater. Giraffe on Fire is a breathtaking addition to a respected body of work by a poet not afraid to speak out about how poetry reflects the raw beauty and truth of life. 

Campesino Fingerprints
Calaca Chapbook Series Volume 1
Paperback Calaca Press; 2nd edition 2000
ISBN-10: 0966077326 ISBN-13: 978-0966077322
Rod Ricardo-Livingstone

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Newly available from SPD. Rod Ricardo-Livingstone was born and raised in Fresno, California. Part of the first generation in his family to be removed from the long hours and hard work of the agricultural fields, he expresses in his work his appreciation of and love for his family. He is a member of the Royal Chicano Navy based in Fresno under the admiralship of Gary Soto. Ricardo-Livingstone currently works as a high school teacher in Carlsbad, CA. CAMPESINO FINGERPRINTS is illustrated by Chicano Park muralist Victor Orozco Ochoa.

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