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

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beyond Chicano El Paso: New and Almost New Books from Our Non-Chicano Brethren


Beyond Chicano El Paso

Okay folks, this post is not on Chicano writers of El Paso, but on writers from EPT that have recently (don't take "recently" so serious) put out a book

Benching Jim Crow: The Rise and Fall of the Color Line in Southern College Sports, 1890-1980
(Sport and Society Series) Hardcover University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition
August 2010 ISBN-10: 0252035518 ISBN-13: 978-0252035517
Charles Martin

Chronicling the uneven rise and slow decline of segregation in American college athletics, Charles H. Martin shows how southern colleges imposed their policies of racial exclusion on surprisingly compliant northern teams and explains the social forces that eventually forced these southern schools to accept integrated competition. 

Martin emphasizes not just the racism prevalent in football and basketball in the South, but the effects of this discrimination for colleges and universities all over the country. Southern teams such as the University of Alabama, University of Mississippi, and the University of North Carolina were obsessed with national recognition, but their Jim Crow policies prevented them for many years from playing against racially mixed teams from other parts of the country.

Devoting special attention to the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and teams in Texas, Martin explores the changing social attitudes and culture of competition that turned the tide and allowed for the recruitment of black players and hiring of black coaches. 

He takes a close look at the case of Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso), the first major white university in an ex-Confederate state to recruit African American athletes extensively. Martin skillfully weaves existing arguments and documentation on the integration of college sports with wide-ranging, original research, including previously unpublished papers and correspondence of college administrators and athletic directors uncovered in university archives.

Mouthfeel Press
Jessica Miller

 Take a dive into the terrifying ocean of mind as Jessica Miller crashes into Skylla and Charybdis and cannot help but heed the siren call of her visions, both benign and sinister. One cannot help but admire her bravery in the face of a prognosis, which, like Cassandra, has that shadow of doom and truth to it. No matter which shore of identity she washs up on....
– Robin Scofield, author of Sunflower Cantos

Insides She Swallowed
Paperback West End Press; 1st edition 2010
ISBN-10: 0981669387 ISBN-13: 978-0981669380
Sasha Pimentel Chacon

Passionate and sensuous to the limit of synesthesia, these poems address both the mind and body of the reader. A verbal magician, a show-stopping performer, the author educates, stimulates, and moves us through her realization and empowerment of images. 

Her love of family, familiarity with death, sexualization of everyday life, politics of liberation - these themes are transformed before our eyes into kindling and fed to a flame of such intensity as is rarely to be found in contemporary poetry...in the Philippines, during People Power, when, marking I's on their foreheads, the boys cried Laban! Laban!, laying their thin brown bodies down as a road of bones before tanks, simple only as boys who believe can be, their hair tangling together and black, a twisting mass, moist as kelp.

Literary El Paso
(Literary Cities Series) Hardcover Texas Christian University Press
Bilingual edition 2009
ISBN-10: 0875653871 ISBN-13: 978-0875653877
Marcia Hatfield Daudistel, editor

The latest addition to the successful literary citieis series by Texas Christian University Press, Literary El Paso brings attention to the often overlooked extraordinary literary heritage of this city in far West Texas. El Paso is the largest metropolitan area along the U.S.–Mexico border and is geographically isolated from the rest of Texas. It is in this splendid isolation surrounded by mountains in the midst of the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert that many award-winning writers found their literary voices. Literary El Paso features bilingual selections to reflect the bi-cultural environment of the region and the state. 

Daudistel uses her years of publishing experience in El Paso to gather the works of past, present, and emerging writers of the Borderlands. Historical essays, fiction, journalism, and poetry portray the colorful history and vibrant present of this city on the border through the works of sixty-three writers.

Once a backdrop to the Mexican Revolution, El Paso was also home to infamous outlaws. Historians C. L. Sonnichsen and Leon Metz write on the gunmen and lawmen of El Paso including John Wesley Hardin, Dallas Stoudenmire and Bass Outlaw. There are feature stories from award-winning journalists Ruben Salazar early in his newspaper career, Ramón Rentería with the last interview of poet Ricardo Sánchez, and Bryan Woolley on the 1966 University of Texas–El Paso Miners and lively South El Paso Street.

Many groundbreaking Chicano writers began their work in El Paso, such as José Antonio Burciaga, Abelardo Delgado, Estela Portillo Trambley, and Arturo Islas. The works of Tom Lea, Amado Muro, Dagoberto Gilb, Rick DeMarinis, Pat LittleDog, the inimitable word sketches of Elroy Bode, and the poetry of Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Pat Mora, and Bernice Love Wiggins, one of the first African American female poets published in Texas, explore the experience of life in El Paso.

In addition, previously unpublished works from John Rechy, Ray Gonzalez and Robert Seltzer are included. For the first time in the series, Literary El Paso features bilingual selections to reflect the bi-cultural environment of the region and the state.

Winner of the Southwest Book Award

Lone Star Noir
Akashic Noir Paperback 2010
ISBN-10: 1936070642 ISBN-13: 978-1936070640
Bobby Byrd (Editor), Johnny Byrd (Editor)

Includes brand-new stories by: James Crumley, Joe R. Lansdale, Claudia Smith, Ito Romo, Luis Alberto Urrea, David Corbett, George Weir, Sarah Cortez, Jesse Sublett, Dean James, Tim Tingle, Milton Burton, Lisa Sandlin, Jessica Powers, and Bobby Byrd.

Bobby Byrd is the co-publisher of Cinco Puntos Press in El Paso, Texas. As a poet, Byrd is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship, the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship awarded by the University of New Mexico, and an International Residency Fellowship.

John Byrd, co-publisher of Cinco Puntos Press, is co-editor (with Bobby Byrd) of the anthology Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots & Graffiti from La Frontera. He is also a Spanish-to-English translator and a freelance essayist.

I Am South
Donna Snyder

Donna Snyder is the founder of The Tumblewords Project, a non-profit poetry workshop in El Paso, Texas. Her work has appeared in various journals and on her blog Raw Poetry. We're pleased to present Donna's collection of poetry I am South.

Donna Snyder elegantly begins what will be an examination, or traipse through her voice and vision with "A Pastel Study in Shadow." The poem opens as a painting created with colors of beautiful wordplay:

"Dress the color of morning glory minutes before dusk" that
seems to be about loss
caught up in shades of mourning
all grays and blacks and purples
and closes with certain resignation and resolution for
when the light fades
the shade will eat
the lilac dust.
"Cloud Travel by boat" is another that continues with this imagery use and reads with tones of mystery and suppressed alarm:
I woke up just a nasty specter in someone else's anxiety nightmare
Animated computer graphics and acid dream gave me a headache.
The poem even transcends this:
The dead wander in and out of the mirror's frame of reference
I founder lost among random reveries of unspecified dead
There is an electric heart sharp red against the bruised autumn sky
an electric cloud hulas around the scarlet shape like a nimbus
The weather warns me that shadows approach always and soon.

There are many other poems that present the majestic elegance of this raw, impassioned verse. The "dreaming" series is also worth note and include the poems "Dreaming in Cards," a jarring poem of contrasts, "Dreaming of Torture," an alarming tale of love and lust internalizes these contrasts while "Dreaming in Mother of Pearl" answers in resolution and confidence of spirit and self. There is a familiar hint of storytelling in some of Donna's work, with a southern charm all it's own that displays her love for its culture:

South is where I learned to swallow Neruda like rum
South is where time stretches out like a bus trip in exotic lands
and South is where I can both swear and sweat in Spanish
There is antiquity here everywhere and I have become part of it.
I Am South does what most good poetry books do: create insight and satisfy the senses. 39 Pages.

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