Interview with a Mestizo. Are You Home? Are you Awake?

Original post found here:

Mestizos Come Home! is a book you’ll want to read and then reread. You’ll also be compelled to buy more books, copies of the book for your friends and copies of all the literature and references cited in the book. Mestizos Come Home! shares what Mexican Americans have accomplished since the 1960s, but also addresses important issues regarding community and its future in the United States. Rudolf Anaya says this book is a “must-read” for those who wish to understand the future of the United States. The research for this book reaches back to the eighteenth-century. La Bloga sits down with the author, Robert Con Davis-Undiano, Neustadt Professor and Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma and executive director or World Literature Today.

This interview is much more thorough and longer than a contemporary internet format, but I trust La Bloga readers will appreciate it. Before you listen to Maria Hinojosa’s upcoming Latino USA show featuring Robert Con Davis-Undiano, you can read the complete La Bloga interview below.

Melinda Ann Palacio:

Where did the idea for this book spring from? How did you decide to combine the body, low rider culture, literature, and the sense of place Atzlan?

Robert Con Davis-Undiano:

My initial thought was to write a much simpler book than what I ended up with.  A few years ago, I was struck constantly that people said things in the media about Latinos and Mexican Americans that were patently untrue—just inaccurate.  For example, people casually talk about Latinos not wanting to assimilate into mainstream U.S. culture.  Every Latino knows that this isn’t true. Assimilation is at least a three-part process of acculturation and involvement with the new culture, and it does not happen overnight. Sociologists have studied this question specifically in regard to Latinos, and Latinos are not taking longer than any other group to assimilate.  So I wanted to correct some of these misunderstandings and put on display some of the great accomplishments of Mexican American and Latino culture.

I chose topics like the body, land, and the Chicano cultural “voice” because these issues are not always discussed in the culture, and I knew that they would be enlightening to non-Latinos.  Especially the issue of the body is a far-reaching issue that encompasses much about Latino culture and Latino history in the Americas and helps to contrast Latinos in so many ways to mainstream culture.  That topic is so important that it threatened to take over the whole book.  In a word, I chose the topics that I thought would be most enlightening to mainstream culture.


This book is such a thorough text on the call home for Mestizos and Chicanos who claim Mexican American identity. Were your intentions always so all encompassing? Did some of the chapters start off as something else?


This is an excellent question.  I started out with the specific aim of bridging non-Latinos and Latinos, to bring the two cultures closer together.  What I soon discovered, however, was that the backlog of misunderstood history and culture was greater than I had thought, enormous, and it really cut across all of Latin America.  That’s when I read Eduardo Galeano and others who had already identified the pattern of cultural “amnesia,” the way in which mestizos have been systematically excluded and marginalized from so much about life and community in the Americas.  Basically, the Spanish in the colonial period created the pattern of marginalizing everybody who was not blanco, especialy blacks and those with complex racial identities.  That pattern is still part of the historical legacy of culture and community in the Americas.  I was able to see that so much of what needed to be exposed, put in the open, and discussed was covered over and made invisible, like a body hidden after a crime.  I further saw that, owing in part to the Chicano Movement and the Chicano Renaissance, much that blocked these issues and kept them hidden was no longer relevant or a barrier.

So you are exactly right when you ask if these chapters started out more simply and then got more complicated.  That’s what happened.  Once I realized that I could break some of these barriers and enable honest and revealing discussion about life and culture in the Americas, and that no one else was waiting in line to do this work of cultural recovery, I doubled down and committed to the more thorough task of recovering cultural and historical material that had been covered over for centuries.  From that moment forward, I saw recovering the body as an especially important act of cultural recovery that I had the responsibility of doing to try to make some good things happen in the culture.  I felt very committed to this project once I began to think of this project in these terms.


Are you disappointed with policies imposed on Chicanos and do you feel that some of us may have dropped the ball in the journey to making those advances?


Yes, of course.  I’m disappointed that the country has not connected more with the Latino community and is committed (for the time being) to seeing us as the enemy.  This is lazy thinking and does not begin to present America at its best.  This approach also betrays the “American Idea” that the country is built on.  For example, the Founders were not very astute about race or gender—in fact, they were notoriously negligent and a product of their time in both areas.  But on the issue of class and community, they imagined a multicultural democracy, and this was a crazy high goal to achieve.  They left out indigenous people, for sure, but the idea in the abstract was amazing. No nation had ever done it, and there was no reason to think that the U.S. could pull it off either.  In fact, the country has never gotten nearly as close to the goal of being an accepting multicultural democracy as most of us would like.

By creating the “American Idea” and putting us on this path, the country, in effect, reenacts its own founding every time a new community comes here to assimilate.  When we as a country fail at assimilation, the spirit of the Founders fades a little and begins to die.  When we as a country can assimilate new communities, we are rediscovering liberty as we form new bonds with people who are different from us.  We are rediscovering democracy when we allow our communities and how they work to evolve and change in response to the new people who are becoming a part of us.  When we succeed even a little at these tasks, it does not take very much, the spirit of the Founders brightens in us and comes alive again.  In other words, the American Idea only continues to live as long as we stay true to the idea of a multicultural democracy that the Founders had in mind.  We don’t have to be that country that they dreamed about, but it is a great and noble goal, and we shouldn’t take a pass on what we can still achieve of it.

How these goals relate to the indigenous community and mestizos in general is clearly complicated, and much of that history is shameful, and I’m not suggesting that it isn’t.  But those goals are still real and incredibly valuable, and I would like for Mestizos Come Home! to be one powerful reminder of what the American Idea is and the part that Mexican Americans and Latinos can play to keep that vision alive.  If the country as a whole were more cognizant that it has a stake in how well Mexican Americans fare in becoming a part of this country, they would be more generous and accepting in regard to the Dreamers and on issues of immigration and acculturation.  I am saying that the country as a whole DOES have a stake in the fortunes of communities who come here to assimilate, but the country these days does not generally remember this fact.  That situation needs to change.


You show how ideals of beauty for the Mestizo body have traditionally favored white European standards. What would help change this idea and celebrate the brown, Mestizo body?


I think that we have a great deal of cultural recovery to do.  I’m ultimately less of a romantic and more of a rationalist in that I believe that people can’t care about something that they don’t know about.  There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit about the history of the Americas that needs to come out and become a part of what Americans know about their country.  Once there is some general understanding that the creation of the “brown body” was a social and political act and not a natural development, an outgrowth of nature, we all will be able to see that people are not color coded and not destined to live out the script that is part of their racial nature.  Yes, we all look different, and some of us are brownish, black, or whatever, but the categories that the Spanish created were artificially constructed and designed to inhibit and limit people in a colonial setting.  Those categories had nothing to do with who we are.

The human genome project has been very helpful in this regard by exploding the notion that ethnic communities differ greatly from each other.  They don’t, and we need to retire the notion of a variety of human species that can be ranked according to their excellence as human beings.  I hope that my discussion in the book of the origin of race theory in the eighteenth century will help people to focus on the bad science and destructive aspects of all racial approaches to explaining human behavior.  The underlying assumptions of racial categories were never science, and it is time to dislodge the Reign of Race as we have known it in the Americas.  It is time for the eighteenth-century-inspired Reign of Race to be over.


You mention in the prefacing pages, “Everyone should have a stake in the success of the Mexican American community’s journey and the quest for social justice?”

Is this how we would have avoided a Trump presidency?


In a word, yes.  Right after the election, the New York Times published a list of six books that could help explain the leadup to the Trump presidency.  J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy was one of them—you get the idea.  I got all six books and read them quickly.  Easily the most impressive of the six books was Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal (2016).  He basically argued that we as a culture ignored the millions of people in the working class who were suffering with high unemployment and the general destruction of their way of life over the last thirty years.  The democratic party and most of the country thought that “white people” in that class could get retrained, would find new jobs, and they would be alright.  They weren’t. The democratic party also abandoned the working class over the last thirty years and began focusing on the upper professional class.  Add to this fact the disappearance of the traditional trade unions, who used to educate their members and keep them on track in voting and cultural participation, and we start to see that the country made a horrible mistake in abandoning a whole social class and pretending that there was no real problem.  Trump played to that class, which Hillary (who I supported) seemed not to acknowledge, and the rest is history.  There needs to be some very sober rethinking of how we all played a role in electing Trump.  Even if there had been no actual Trump, this problem was waiting to happen for historical and economic reasons.  Historically, revolutions are fought over smaller issues!


I see this book as a forum for sorting through topics that need our attention. Do you foresee a part II and part III of this book in which you might document future problem solving to acculturation?


A part II and a part III are interesting ideas that I had not considered.  If I can see that this book has been genuinely useful in its critique of the country, and if it seems that there would be an audience for more, I would certainly be open to extending this book’s analysis far more broadly.  I just want this book to do some good, and if more is needed in a kind of sequel, I would be up for that.


A continuation of the first question. What gave you the idea to present a continuum of antepasados (dead testimony) and the historic record with recent texts made up of the current creators of literature?


Problems like racism always have a history, and to get to the bottom of the problem you must always take ownership of that history.  I was actually more surprised that others had not done much of this work before I did.  Why, for example, has there been virtually no general discussion in the culture of el Sistema de casta in the U.S.?  That’s weird.  In the casta tradition is a fully articulated record of the roots of racism in the Americas, and no one wants to understand that history and discuss it?  That can’t be.  When I saw such instances of flagrant oversight and dismissal of important and relevant material, I realized that something bigger was going on.  The cultural amnesia that has become habitual in the Americas is still dominating our thinking and perceptions long after the casta system ended.  This and many other instances of cultural amnesia are now not so much intended by anyone as simply left in place and serving some people while leaving many others out.  In this book, I was hoping to put in play some of those missing pieces to connect the past and present so that others would be motivated to continue this work in adjacent areas.  I’m still hoping that I have done that.


Can you talk about how the impact of this book would make a statement like, “Go back where you came from,” obsolete?


Mexican Americans and Latinos long ago became a part of the fabric of the U.S.  The time to object or to reject their influence passed sometime in the nineteenth century, and the Chicano Renaissance signaled the passing of a threshold when the evidence of Mexican American and Latino influence in the U.S. was made too clear to be refuted at any level.  As the heirs to the Chicano Movement and Chicano Renaissance, we cannot pretend that Latinos are not woven into what this country is about.  Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is signaling the crossing of that threshold, too.  I think that he and other Latinos also have the appreciation of the Founders that I mentioned earlier and also recognize the wonderful goal of a multicultural democracy—now, of course, a goal that includes gender and racial equity.  Latinos “get” the Founders, and now we just need to help the rest of the country once again to recognize and value living the American Idea—that amazing goal that we can realize and achieve far better than the Founders ever could in their own time.


What book projects are you looking to next?


Right at this moment I am working on starting a Latinx Studies program at the University of Oklahoma, and that has taken up some time.  I like your idea of a sequel to Mestizos Come Home!, and if there seems to be a demand for more discussion along the lines of what that book is saying, it would be fun to track some of the same themes through the publication of really current fiction, like the amazing work that you are doing in your books.


Thank you for taking the time to speak to La Bloga. Is there anything else you’d like to add?


I want Latinos to talk to each other more.  If we are going to pull together the pieces of our souls and “own” the Americas once again, as Galeano referenced, we need that time together to talk and think.  We need to become dedicated resolaneros who are not content to mimic mainstream culture and mirror accepted notions of who we are.  We can recapture some of the energy of the founding of this country and the inauguration of the Chicano Movement when we connect with each other, with our indigenous brothers and sisters, and with all people across the Americas who are disenfranchised, people who don’t feel that they belong to the place that they are from.  In the past, there were strict prohibitions to having those discussions.  Now we must be willing to break through the barriers of amnesia that are still keeping us from what we need to accomplish for ourselves.  When we work together, we see that in a democracy nobody wins unless everyone does.  Once we get past this period of economic unrest (it is very hard on people when their livelihood is threatened; they are not at their best), I believe that we will see a better side of America come forward.

Two Poems by Jessica Helen López

When a fellow teacher, colleague and white woman, says to me that a mother, parent to one of our students, looks like Spanish trash and I say nothing.  Rather, I walk from the room silent as a grave.

This Brown Body Sings of Sin & Arrows

of wind without whistle which is to say

it sounds of nothing without the reverb


of an echo against solid brick, or wall

or back of hand, slight off-color compliment


ringed with the bathtub dirt of

your micro-aggressions & stinging


compliments.  You bitch. You dog

of a person when said what you said.


And I said nothing.  Just let your bitter

slide against me like a rape.  Like yet


another white woman with a royal

& unquestionable tongue.  How could


I sit there & take it?  Crawl beneath

my skin, cowardly sickened snail at


the sight of brine & salt raining down

upon me.  I protest. I who am progressive


by most standards.  Radical flag burner

and bra burning woman.  I raise my fists


and chant songs about my vagina

skin color, land stolen from my


indigenous ancestor, damn it.  Though

there I was a jelly fish amongst a goliath.


White woman whistling the same

old tune.  I saw her, she said. She


said, did you see her breasts pouring

from her thin-strapped blouse like


muddied oil like sex like too much

Mexican woman who don’t even


know her place care about her future

her kids her reputation in this country?


I can say this, she said.  She said, because

my mother in law is Puerto Rican


as if all Latinas are the same.

Mexican and Spanish trash she


said, as if Mestiza was never

a word she heard. Mixed blood


but mutt is what she meant.

And my tongue was an anvil.


A stupid silent irrelevant piece

of flesh.  Where did all my courage


flee?  I have sinned because I

did not speak and my by body


carries these pitiful arrows to

this day. A penance worth nothing.


Not even the back of her hand. I

rather she had slapped me.  Instead.


What a much bearable burden to bear.

Tangible as solid brick and not as ghost-

like as this ricocheting echo

feeble lack of words.





A Letter to My Mental Illness, Addiction, Affliction, Trauma and Triumph

(Or No One Likes a Long Poem)


  1. What They Say is Mental Illness


First, I would like to say I love you.

You are my favorite armor, a cheap

third world country sweater.  Long in the sleeves.


Because I have unusually long arms. Spindle limbs

and skinny appendages. Tiny wrists.


Boy/girl body, really.  That I came to love

on good days.


To my mental


illness, next. Traitor. Golden Judas.


A tumbling unraveling.  Stupid helix

of DNA and hand-me-down gene.


You make me

love the blood that boils in

the blue-grey veins. Ocean


soft. How I want to fall into those



A salty forgetfulness.


How I want to spill


them over. A forced enjamb—




vulnerable vessels.  Commit


suicide like a real lady.  Regal, no bullets.


No maimed face.  I’ve heard

that’s how women snuff themselves.


Now, look at my pretty. Bathtub

wet.  Labia pulled back, organism.


Orgasm. Dead meat.


A pink floating amoeba.  I’m sorry (I’m not

sorry) I fantasize


this way but my brain is mushroom heavy.


But, but, but, but,

but, but, but, but,




I am a floating island, unanchored. Overly washed

thing. Beat


silly by the tide.


The breathing, heavy of it. Skulk.

Slink. Sulk. Scurry. Rolling wave of it.


I still love me though, I think.


Look at me! I arrange the glistening knives and forks. Fold

the laundry

like a dutiful                                           martyr.


Bleed into the white foam

and dirty dish grease when no one


is searching.


Snort lines. Dopamine

Please. Please




Serotonin. Oxytocin.


A housewife snorting

cocaine is headline news.


Domestic. Chemical

uptake-inhibitor of sex.


Fuelfire and fuck me.  Fill your prescription

and no one will judge you.


So, you see, I called my father



He is my favorite juxtaposition.


My common



That sex-filled, sexless something

smattering of a man.


He is not real. He can

not be real.     He must be one of those


death shadows like when Hiroshima was dropped

by a dirty bomb.


The silhouette of a man walking along

the cool


pavement, cane in hand.


Obliterated into nothing but shadow.


Never any flesh. No meat or soul.


Never was. Never again.


He is my diction. My off

rhyme.                    No one’s favorite



  1. To My Addiction Solely


You are so wondrous!  I wish

I could stay     with you for



Forever hide myself in the scribble

of your body.


You alloy-flavored magnet. You

are a Times Square marquee.


Last night, I dreamt I was pregnant

with the fetus of a man

whom I hate


but used to love and still

love sometimes.


In my dream, he proposed


with a troupe of tokens,

all starry-eyed and opaque in their



The baby moved within my belly,

but too soon.  Too





It was a coke dream.


And we all know





III. Affliction


I want to scream the word



You are a too-big planet.


I want to scream the word



You too-big orbiting guilt.


I want to cajole, wheedle, whine

my way out of the brown             paper bag


of your body.


Dead leaves in my throat.


You are my favorite

a dry fever. A rattling.



Affliction, you are dead leaves in my throat.



  1. Now, to the Trauma


No, this poem is about

a sword. After



After all, I’ve decided

it’s about


low-hanging fruit.


Lemons and Damocles and Solomon on a slow-slung

lazy branch of a California tree

in the backyard patch of memory

growing from sun-burnt


grass. Flat dead yellow blades.


Like I said, this poem is about a sword.


A king with all the power.  A sniffling

wife. A spliced


baby.  A fool of peril.


I think it was my birthday.


There was a switch, that I know

or at least, that I remember that I know.

Someone’s punishment.


There was a lashing. Me?

There was a blade. Boxcutter?

There was a vein. Several?


Your mothers? Yes,

your mothers.


There was an argument that tumbled into eons.


Your parents? Yes, you’re parents.


You slept, finally. You

Woke, abruptly.


And then, a sizzling


pink bleeding into the green

of the carpet.


But, before that there was a comforting shade.

There was yellow.

Memory of your birthday.


There was a tree and there were



And I swear, she plucked them.


Sliced the juice of the fruit in half

for you.


Squeezed the milk of it down your

throat.  A sour gift.


Oh, how you bent back

that neck.


And then, she


hollered. You stirred,

and there it was again.


That braggadocios pink.

That green.

That carpet.


A fester.


Many years later and it was definitely

not your birthday.


Instead, it was a sizzle of drip,


pulled from two wrists. Each one for good measure.


You, pulled.


Pulled from your pre-pubescent deep sleep, an aquanaut

10,000 leagues blissfully below.


And then you saw.

Saw, just how she instructed.


She won’t like if you remind her

how she said,


“Look, what he made me



do,” she




How proud she seemed and later

dissolved into                       a puddle.


A Spartan wife wasted and running down the street.

A disappearing act out the front

door and into a cul-de-sac

without you.


Just so you know, neither pink nor green are

primary colors.


You, who figured that out, years and years



But, they exist all the same.


There is an old house I no longer live

in that attests



that it




  1. Triumph Question Mark.


Last, I would like to say I love you.  Too.

You are my preferred glamorous scam, that even

I believe


from time


to time.


Long in the tooth, because I have unusually

long smiles.


Oh, how they last. Like a busted-smiling housewife,

black-eyed and socked to smithereens,


answering the door triumphant and clandestine.


Hello, are you selling Tupperware? Dictionaries?


Hurry, before my husband comes home

and finds that your hocking vacuums and good will


messages from the corner-church.


He doesn’t like



And, in his triumphant righteous and privileged

way, will boot you from our home and


make me pay. For days and days and days.


Oh, how I will pay. He triumphant,


at last.







Jessica Helen Lopez was the former City of Albuquerque Poet Laureate and the Poet-In-Residence for the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History from 2014 – 2016. She has also been a featured writer for 30 Poets in their 30’s by MUZZLE and named one of the “10 Up and Coming Lantinx Poets You Need to Know” by international digital publisher and agency, Remezcla.  Lopez holds the title of 2012 and 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam ABQ Champion. She is a member of the Macondo Foundation. Founded by Sandra Cisneros, it is an association of socially engaged writers united to advance creativity, foster generosity, and honor community. Her first collection of poetry, Always Messing with Them Boys (West End Press, 2011) made the Southwest Book of the Year reading list and was also awarded the Zia Book Award presented by NM Women Press. Her second collection of radical feminist poetry, Cunt. Bomb. is published by Swimming with Elephants Publication (2014). Her third collection, The Language of Bleeding: Poems for the International Poetry Festival, Nicaragua (SWEP) is a limited release in honor of her ambassadorial visit to Granada, Nicaragua.A Pushcart Prize nominee, Lopez is a Ted Talk speaker alumni and a featured poet on PBS Colores! An Adjunct Instructor for UNM Chican@ Studies Department and Institute of American Indian Arts, she is also a book reviewer for World Literature Today Magazine.

5 Latino Presses that Fight Against Trump’s Non-Spanish World

Original post found here:

With Trump’s recent elimination of the Spanish content option on the official White House website, it is important to emphasize that regardless of the whims and wishes of any xenophobic politician, Spanish still holds and will continue to hold a very important place in U.S. society. With around 40 million people speaking Spanish in the U.S., Hispanophones are the second largest group in this country after Anglophones, contributing greatly to the richness and diversity this country proclaims. With this in mind, we decided to celebrate our Spanish heritage by sharing 5 Latino presses that fight against Trump’s imaginary non-Spanish world by publishing works in both English and Spanish. Let us show our support to these presses that are making a difference. 
Artepoética Press is a New York City based Hispanic publishing house. They specialize in works and themes related to Iberia and the Americas. Their two imprints, Artepoética Press and Escribana Books, publish creative writing (novels, short stories & poetry) and academic works (Cultural and Literary Studies) respectively.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors. Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts, history and politics.

Bilingual Review Press publishes literary works, scholarship, and art books by or about U.S. Hispanics under the name Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe. Since its founding in 1973, Bilingual Press has been committed to publishing high-quality writing by both established and emerging writers. With almost 200 titles in our backlist, we publish books in English, Spanish, and bilingual format, although most of our books are written in English. In addition, classics of Chicana and Chicano literature are being kept available through the Press’s Clásicos Chicanos/Chicano Classics imprint.

Floricanto Press, a publisher of Latino Books that focuses on Latino/Hispanic people and trends. Its publishing programs examine a broad spectrum of social, cultural, political, and economic issues impinging upon our pluralistic communities as well as the societal structures at large affecting them. Our press publishes Latino books and specifically seeks writings articulating an analytical discourse on issues which include a Latino perspective. Floricanto Press publishes Latino books and e-books of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Literature, History and Social sciences, Women–by and about–Latino LGBT, Sephardic literature and history, Psychology, Linguistics, and Biographies, both individual and collective; and Latino children’s books.

Jade Publishing is a new American publishing company dedicated to the promotion of Latin American literature. It seeks to publish the best emerging Latin American talent in both English and Spanish, and enrich the international literary scene with breathtaking stories of explosive literary vibrance.

Rev. of A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita

Original post found here:—a-surprise-for-teresita–una-sorpresa-para-teresita.html

A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita
by Virginia Sánchez-Korrol


A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita is a colorful and heartwarming bilingual children’s book where the author, Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, reminds us that there is nothing like the genuine excitement and happiness of a child. Likewise, the charming and vibrant images by the illustrator Carolyn Dee Flores add a stroke of authentic cheerfulness throughout the story. 

Teresita, a little girl who just turned 7, is extremely excited to know that her uncle Ramón will be bringing her a special birthday present when he comes from work. What time will he be home? What present will he have? Teresita finds herself playing outside with her neighborhood friends while she anxiously waits for her uncle.

A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita is a story that teaches us to appreciate those small yet special family moments that last a lifetime, while fostering the necessary language skills for our children in today’s beautiful and undoubtedly bilingual America. 

Virginia Sánchez-Korrol is a professor emerita at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Sánchez-Korrol writes a blog about Puerto Ricans and Latinas in the United States for The Huffington Post.

Carolyn Dee Flores is a children’s illustrator and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita is an Arte Público Press publication and can be purchased through Amazon. Click here to purchase. 

New Book: Latino City by Llana Barber

Original post found here:

Latino City explores the transformation of Lawrence, Massachusetts, into New England’s first Latino-majority city. Like many industrial cities, Lawrence entered a downward economic spiral in the decades after World War II due to deindustrialization and suburbanization. The arrival of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in the late twentieth century brought new life to the struggling city, but settling in Lawrence was fraught with challenges. Facing hostility from their neighbors, exclusion from local governance, inadequate city services, and limited job prospects, Latinos fought and organized for the right to make a home in the city.

In this book, Llana Barber interweaves the histories of urban crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America. Pushed to migrate by political and economic circumstances shaped by the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, poor and working-class Latinos then had to reckon with the segregation, joblessness, disinvestment, and profound stigma that plagued U.S. cities during the crisis era, particularly in the Rust Belt. For many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, there was no “American Dream” awaiting them in Lawrence; instead, Latinos struggled to build lives for themselves in the ruins of industrial America

Scholarship Opportunity (deadline 5/31/17)

Original post found here:

This scholarship is designed to encourage the Latin@ voice in poetry and the literary arts, both at The Frost Place and in the broader literary community.  It covers tuition, room and board, and travel for The Frost Place Conference on Poetry.

The recipient of the scholarship will be selected from the applicant pool by a small panel of readers committed to the Latin@ voice in poetry. The selection will be based solely on the merit of the work submitted and the responses to the application questions.

Applicants should self-identify as Latin@, have a strong commitment to the Latin@ community, and be a minimum of 21 years of age.

Former Conference on Poetry attendee and coordinator of the scholarship, Javier Zamora, describes how his time at The Frost Place was important to his development as a poet, and how he hopes this scholarship will affect its recipient and further the Latin@ voice in poetry.

“My time at the conference was essential in cementing relationships that helped my writing’s early stages, ie. before the MFA. The workshops were intimate and I learned so much about poetry. […] The craft talks were also helpful in solidifying my ideas for what a “poem” is, and friendships I made with faculty and attendants have proved lasting.

Although the faculty is diverse, while at The Frost Place, I saw a lack of a Latin@ presence within the attendants. During my MFA at NYU, Latin@ presence was also small. The purpose of this scholarship is to begin to increase our visibility in these spaces. The idea is to create more possibilities for inclusion.”

CfP: Writing El Norte: A Compendium of Latinx Writing from the Midwest

The forthcoming literary anthology Writing El Norte: A Compendium of Latinx Writing from the Midwest (working title) is seeking creative nonfiction submissions up to 3,500 words.

Writing El Norte will document the reality of lived experience in the Midwest in a timely collection of personal and/or memoir-driven essays by Latinx writers. It will be published in 2019 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.

Themes include: arrival, acculturation, assimilation, homemaking, language loss, intergenerational trauma, identity, and/or racial politics.

Please note the Submission Requirements:

• Contributors must identify as Latinx and have lived experience in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Illinois, or Wisconsin
• Manuscripts due via Submittable by November 15, 2017
• Personal essays and memoir up to 3,500 words
• Work must be previously unpublished

• Manuscripts must be double spaced, paginated, and formatted according to The Chicago Manual of Style

Vanessa Ramos and Brooke Dirtzu

A New Anthology by The Raving Press

A New Anthology by The Raving Press

The Raving Press is an independent publishing press from the Rio Grande Valley founded by Isaac Chavarria and Gabriel H. Sanchez in 1998. Their publishing adventures have included zines and chapbooks, as well as the long-standing “Lost” anthology. It is headquartered in Mission, Texas. For more information visit

 “Bad Hombres & Nasty Women”: The Raving Press to Launch their latest Anthology as an Artistic and Literary Response to Trumpisms from the 2016 Presidential Race

The book launch will be held at Barnes & Noble Palms Crossing on Ware and Frontage Road in McAllen, Texas

Mission, Texas, USA – May 5, 2017 – The Raving Press, a Rio Grande Valley independent book publishing press, has collaborated with authors and artists from across the United States in putting together their latest anthology of art and literature titled “Bad Hombres and Nasty Women” to be released this month.

The press will hold a book launch on May 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Palms Crossing in McAllen, TX. The event falls between the dates of their week-long book fair also to be held at the same location starting on the day of the launch, and lasting until June 3, 2017. The book fair will benefit the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.

Asked why they decided to publish this latest anthology, the editors Gabriel H. Sanchez and Isaac Chavarria coincided in self-deprecating, humorous fashion that “as a press founded by a Chicano and a Pocho, we felt that it was time to come out from under our oversized sombreros and inappropriate Valley Spring wear (knee-length ponchos) and end our siesta. It was time to work on a response to the Trumpisms about Mexicans being bad hombres, and other comments about nasty women in our society.”

The promotional material for the book, found at the webpage 

reads equally as pun-filled as their closing comments about their book launch:

“If anything is true is that we are going to be late to the event in typical Mexican-American fashion, just like we were late in responding to the Trumpisms from the past election. So I guess you can call me lazy,” said Sanchez. “But a murderer and a rapist, not even if you gave me a million pesos!”

For more information about the event you can contact the editors at

You can also contact Katrina at Barnes & Noble Palms Crossing 3300 Expressway 83 # 1100 by calling (956) 686-4231.

Instituto Familiar de la Raza to celebrate new mural Friday

Original post found here:

A nonprofit serving San Francisco’s Chicano, Latino and Indígena communities on Mission Street near 25th Street is celebrating the completion of a new mural on its rear facade facing Lilac Street. The alley is known for its colorful and culturally relevant murals.

Instituto Familiar de la Raza’s new mural, titled “The Cycle of Re-Generation,” is the work of Darren Villegas. It depicts tree trunks with elements of DNA strands to evoke the concept of Latino traditions and roots. The Aztec goddess of fertility, Mayahuel, takes center stage in the mural as a symbol of life force and carrying on traditions.

In a release, the center highlights a twist the artist incorporated into a traditional image:  “Villegas is also careful to correct history when necessary. As a reminder of the tremendous and sometimes invisible contributions of women, Villegas flips the iconic image of Popocatépetl carrying Itza by showing a female warrior carrying a homeboy.”

High-rise buildings block out sunlight in the mural, symbolizing gentrification.

Mission Comics InStory

On Friday, May 12 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Instituto and the Calle 24 Latino Cultural Corridor will host an event featuring food, music, Aztec dance, and speakers.

Herrera Internship Endowment

Original post found here:

The Herrera Internship provides scholarships to Hispanic, female students who complete an internship with the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC). It was created by Dr. Denise Herrera to honor her mother (Yolanda Herrera) and two grandmothers (Reyna Herrera and Helen Montoya) who did not have the opportunity to pursue higher education. As a Native New Mexican, Dr. Herrera has dedicated much of her academic and professional career to the advancement of underrepresented groups in higher education. As a participant in several diversity programs herself, Dr. Herrera has mentored students from elementary through the postdoctoral level; this internship is intended to honor that tradition of “lifting others while we climb” and paying it forward.

Applications are due May 15, 2017. To see eligibility requirements and to apply, download the application here.

For questions regarding the application, call 505-246-2261.