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

Octavio Romano

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New Books in April by El Pasoans

New Books in April by El Pasoans

Our Lady of Controversy: Alma López's "Irreverent Apparition" 
Chicana Matters Series Paperback
University of Texas Press (April 1, 2011) 
ISBN-10: 0292726422 ISBN-13: 978-0292726420
Alicia Gaspar de Alba (Editor), Alma López (Editor) 

Months before Alma López's digital collage Our Lady was shown at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2001, the museum began receiving angry phone calls from community activists and Catholic leaders who demanded that the image not be displayed. 

Protest rallies, prayer vigils, and death threats ensued, but the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition.

Highlighting many of the pivotal questions that have haunted the art world since the NEA debacle of 1988, the contributors to Our Lady of Controversy present diverse perspectives, ranging from definitions of art to the artist's intention, feminism, queer theory, colonialism, and Chicano nationalism. Contributors include the exhibition curator, Tey Marianna Nunn; award-winning novelist and Chicana historian Emma Pérez; and Deena González (recognized as one of the fifty most important living women historians in America).

Accompanied by a bonus DVD of Alma López's I Love Lupe video that looks at the Chicana artistic tradition of reimagining la Virgen de Guadalupe, featuring a historic conversation between Yolanda López, Ester Hernández, and Alma López, Our Lady of Controversy promises to ignite important new dialogues.

Here Lies Lalo: The Collected Poems of Abelardo Delgado 
Paperback Arte Publico Pr (April 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1558856943
ISBN-13: 978-1558856943
Abelardo " (Author), Lalo" (Author), Delgado (Author), Jarica Linn Watts (Editor)

"Stupid America, remember that chicanito / flunking math and English / he is the Picasso / of your western states / but he will die / with one thousand masterpieces / hanging only from his mind." In his poem, "Stupid America," Chicano activist poet Abelardo "Lalo Delgado decries the lack of opportunity faced by his people: children let down by the educational system; artists and poets unable to express their creativity. "That chicano / with a big knife / he doesn t want to knife you / he wants to sit down on a bench / and carve ... / but you won t let him."

Known as the "poet laureate de Aztlan" and called "the grandfather of Chicano literature" in his 2004 obituary in The New York Times, Delgado used his words to fight for justice and equal opportunity for people of Mexican descent living in the United States. 

A twelve-year-old when he emigrated from northern Mexico to El Paso, Texas, Delgado's development as a poet and writer coincided with the Chicano Civil Rights movement, and so his poems both reflect the suffering of the oppressed and are a call to action. "We want to let america know that she / belongs to us as much as we belong in turn to her / by now we have learned to talk / and want to be in good speaking terms / with all that is america."

Available for the first time to mainstream audiences, Delgado's poems included in this landmark volume were written between 1969 and 2001, and are in Spanish, English, and a combination of both languages. While many of his poems protest mistreatment and discrimination, especially as experienced by farm workers, many others focus on love of family and for the land and traditions of his people.

Delgado wrote and self-published 14 books of poetry--none of which are available today--and five of them are included in this long-awaited volume. These poems by a pioneering Chicano poet and revolutionary are a must-read for anyone interested in the Chicano Civil Rights movement and the origins of Chicano literature.

Border Boom Town: Ciudad Juárez since 1848 
Paperback University of Texas Press (April 6, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0292729820ISBN-13: 978-0292729827
Oscar J. Martínez

Border Boom Town traces the social and economic evolution of Ciudad Juárez, the largest city on the U.S.-Mexican border and one of the fastest-growing urban centers in the world. In this evocative portrait, Oscar J. Martínez stresses the interdependence of Juárez and El Paso, a condition that is similar to relations between other "twin cities" along the border.

Using a wide variety of local historical materials from both sides of the Río Grande, Martínez shows how Juárez entered the modern era with the arrival of the railroads in the 1880's, serving as a principal port of exit for waves of Mexican emigrants bound for the United States. In more recent years, increased migration to the area has resulted in extraordinary expansion of the population, with significant impact on both sides of the boundary.

Proximity to the highly industrialized country to the north and remoteness from Mexico's centers of production have brought a multiplicity of assets and liabilities. Juárez's vulnerability to external conditions has led to alternating cycles of prosperity and depression since the establishment of the border in 1848.

With the stimulus of new development programs in the 1960's and 1970's designed to integrate this neglected area into the national economic network, Juárez enjoyed the biggest boom in its history. However, government efforts to improve socioeconomic conditions failed to solve old problems and gave rise to new social ills. Ironically, the "Mexicanization" campaign on the border has led to unprecedented levels of foreign dependency.

Martínez's analysis shows that integrating the northern Mexican frontier into the national economy remains an elusive and complex problem with which Mexico will continue to grapple for years to come.

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Thursday, April 7, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM. El Paso Community College Celebrates Poetry Month with a Reading Featuring Todd McKinney and Carolina Monsiváis. EPCC ASC Boardroom, 9050 Viscount Blvd. Free – Public is Invited. Sponsored by EPCC Spring Arts Festival
Thursday, April 7, 1pm. Poet Martin Espada reading at at Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces, NM. Contact Denise Chávez, bbf@borderbookfestival.com for information.

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