Three Questions for Sarah Rafael García Regarding Her Short-Story Collection, SanTana’s Fairy Tales

This is a truly wonderful interview between Daniel Olivas and Sarah Rafael Garcia. Original post found here: https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/interviews/three-questions-sarah-rafael-garcia-regarding-short-story-collection-santanas-fairy-tales/

As a college classmate of mine, Bruce Handy, notes in his new book, Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, fairy tales, “in their original, unadulterated, 120-proof versions, are so gruesome and bleak, even barbarous, as to raise the question whether they should be thought of as children’s literature at all.”

Well, there’s no doubt that Sarah Rafael García’s bilingual short-story collection from Raspa, SanTana’s Fairy Tales, is not for the very young, despite the fact that many youngsters populate its pages. García drew inspiration from the darker elements of the classic fairy-tale form to address the often painful history and stories of the Mexican and Mexican-American residents of Orange County’s City of Santa Ana, her adopted hometown. But the ogres, monsters, and spirits in these fairy tales are ICE agents, land developers, bigots, and other enemies of García’s community.

These tales are all the more chilling because, despite the otherworldly nature of her narratives, they are rooted in reality. This collection is as stirring as it is brutal, and García’s skill as a storyteller is on full display in these carefully crafted stories.

The book also owes its existence to the very community García writes about: its publication was supported, in part, by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through a grant supporting the Artist-in-Residence initiative at Grand Central Art Centerin Santa Ana. In their original form, García’s stories were the center of a multi-media, collaborative, community event.

García is not only a writer, but she is also a community educator and an avowed traveler. She is the author of Las Niñas (Floricanto Press, 2008), and her writing has appeared in many publications including LATINO Magazine, Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a Post 9/11 World (Slough Press, 2015), La Tolteca Zine, and the Acentos Review, among others. García is a Macondo Fellow and an editor for both the Barrio Writers and Pariahs: Writing from Outside the Margins anthologies. One of García’s best-known initiatives is the LibroMobile, a literary project by Red Salmon Arts and Community Engagement, that integrates literature, visual exhibits, and year-round creative workshops and live readings in Santa Ana.

DANIEL A. OLIVAS: What attracted you to the fairy-tale form to tell the stories of your city?

SARAH RAFAEL GARCÍA: Interestingly, I started writing fairy tales after studying in Ireland while completing an MFA program in creative writing. I had a very challenging experience obtaining my Masters degree: the program itself lacks diversity and support for students of color, and even more so for first generation graduate students. During my last year, my thesis year, I decided to not submit my initial thesis project to avoid receiving additional critique on my culture and language use in a historical novella I’m writing. Ireland made me realize that I could use another form to tell my stories, a form people around the world are familiar with and that is also part of pop culture.

Fairy tales and fables are classic styles used time and time again, so I started writing feminist short stories incorporating some of the characteristics of fairy tales and fables in order to offer a counter narrative to female narratives, as a way to turn the male gaze back on society, making society accountable for sculpting our stereotypes. And in that collection, I also wanted to include the transwoman narrative, and that’s how the first SanTana fairytale came to exist. “Zoraida & Marisol” was inspired by undocumented, transactivist Zoraida Reyes.

The idea to pitch a multi-media project for a Santa Ana collection evolved after a couple of conversations with CSUF Grand Central Director/Chief Curator John Spiak and few rereads of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales to offer an opposing view of “the happiest place on earth” neighboring my city. I knew I wanted to do a series of stories and offer a history of the all the changes occurring in Santa Ana — the artist-in-residence and exhibition allowed me to grow those ideas. In a way, it was nostalgia for my childhood home and my own family’s immigration story to Santa Ana that initiated the fairy tales.

Specifically, what narratives were you trying to respond to or counteract with your stories?

Personally, I can’t imagine writing anything without focusing on my own identity and community, which includes plenty of labels: Chicana, Tejana, Santanera, first-generation college graduate, first born in the U.S., woman, never married, no children, feminist, Mexican, American, and the list can go on based on who you ask about me.

But one goal for this project was to show that cities don’t need to bring in artists or entrepreneurs from other areas to “revitalize” a city — a counter to the current gentrification and displacement issues in Santa Ana and across the nation. By investing in folks currently doing the work at the community-based and/or grassroots level, cities can help empower their residents, artists, and local independent businesses.

Santa Ana is approximately 80 percent Mexican-American among many new immigrants and undocumented residents who — a relatively large percentage — are also bilingual. Growing up in Santa Ana, I never read a book in Spanish or heard of books that reflected my community. Developed through a one-year onsite artist-in-residence at Grand Central Art Center, SanTana’s Fairy Tales was more than a bilingual book, it was a visual art installation, oral history, storytelling project that integrated community-based narratives to create contemporary fairy tales and fables that represent the history and stories of Mexican/Mexican-American residents of Santa Ana (inspired by the Grimms’ Fairy Tales). The exhibition highlighted — and my book includes — the stories that focused on the day-to-day problems of most of our residents, from cultural landmarks being removed to fears of deportation and police surveillance.

The second half of your book consists of Spanish translations of your stories. The translations were done by Julieta Corpus. Can you talk a little bit about the process of translation and your working relationship with Julieta?

Part of the project is to collaborate with other community-based artists, naturally focusing on the Santa Ana community. But I also wanted to include folks who share my passion as well as my priority to include the Spanish language.

I’ve known Julieta Corpus for several years and she lives in my birth town, Brownsville, Texas — I’m happy I could also support another community who has contributed to my identity. I admire her poetry as well as her skills to write beautifully in both English and Spanish. I thought of translating myself — Spanish is my first language and I also minored in it during undergrad — but I knew it would take more time away from writing the other stories and I would find it challenging to be lyrical when I mostly code-switch in Spanish rather than speak it regularly. Plus, who better than a poet to translate a fairy tale?

The translation process consisted of me finishing a story, doing edits with César Ramos from Raspa Magazine, and then sending a final version to Julieta. Julieta and I would usually teleconference to review the Spanish version and decide on certain translations, for example do we translate “low-rider” or is it just “low-rider” in Spanish too? Then César would review the Spanish one more time for consistency. Both César and Julieta were the magic behind the translations. It has been so empowering to read my work in Spanish, especially because I know I would have not done it as well as Julieta. She does such an amazing translation — sometimes I forget I’m reading my own work!

[To watch a video of Sarah Rafael García work on SanTana’s Fairy Tales as a multimedia, community-based, collaboration, visit here.]

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Remezcla’s “These Were the Best Books From Latin American & Latino Authors in 2017”

The end of a year usually means a lot of lists…This is a good one by Alejandra Oliva for Remezcla: http://remezcla.com/lists/culture/best-books-latino-authors-2017/

So many of the books published by Latino authors this year seemed to be working in response to our burning dumpster fire of a political climate. Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How it Ends and Javier Zamora’s Unaccompanied dealt directly with the child migrant crisis and the violence and injustice of borders through non-fiction and poetry, respectively. Carmen Maria Machado, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Mariana Enriquez all used horror story tropes to deal with the real-life horror of violence against women; Samanta Schweblin and Juan Villoro do the same with environmental issues. We also were lucky enough to get straight-up radical joy and sorrow from poets like Melissa Lozada-Oliva, and Marcela Huerta and memoirist Miryam Gurba.

These books are all worth a read, whether to transport you to a totally different world, like the California gold rush in In the Distance or a Brooklyn suffused with old magic in Shadowhouse Fall, or to engage with the world and see it all the more clearly, no matter how difficult the looking may be.

Without further ado, here’s a list of 15 unmissable books from 2017.

‘Tell Me How It Ends’ by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House)

Hands down the most important book of the year, Luiselli’s non-fiction account of her work with undocumented child migrants is loosely based around the questionnaire they are asked to fill out to apply for asylum, and woven through with her own experiences traversing the bureaucracies of American immigration. Tell Me How It Ends leaves the question of its title urgently unanswered, and lights a fire under the reader to get them involved.

‘Unaccompanied’ by Javier Zamora (Copper Canyon Press)

This book and Luiselli’s make perfect companions – where Luiselli focuses on the systemic and overwhelming nature of child migration, Zamora takes us into the the intimacies of the experience. Born in El Salvador, Zamora crossed the border to rejoin his parents in California at the age of 9. Unaccompanied is the story of that journey, told through poems that expand details to the size of the Sonora, from cooking with his grandmother, to the thirst that accompanies you through the desert.

‘In the Distance’ by Hernan Diaz (Coffee House Press)

This is a wild, sprawling novel about the American West and the inside of one man’s head. Hakan is a Swedish immigrant stranded in California during the gold rush with no money and no English, desperately trying to reach his brother in New York. Diaz writes the experience of being a stranger as well as anyone (there’s a full page of “English” as Hakan hears it that is perfect), and In the Distancedeals beautifully with the endless expanse of a country, and the claustrophobic space of a mind after trauma. Diaz’s book is a brilliant, brainy adventure story that will stay with you long after you read the last page.

‘Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos,’ written by Monica Brown and Illustrated by John Parra (NorthSouth Books)

A gorgeous, lovingly illustrated picture book about Frida Kahlo, and all the animals that she had as pets and that recur in her art. It reflects cleverly back on Frida’s art by talking about all the different ways she embodied her animals – she loved dressing herself in colors like her parrot, and was independent like her cats –  thereby keeping Frida’s biography light for younger readers.

‘The Iliac Crest’ by Cristina Rivera Garza, translated by Sarah Booker (Feminist Press)

This creepy feminist ghost story has it all: Hitchcockian body-doubles, the ghost of forgotten Mexican writer Amparo Davila, a lonely asylum by the sea, a slow descent into madness. Written as a response to the rising tide of femicide throughout Latin America, The Iliac Crest uses these horror-movie tropes to deal with topics of female erasure, violence, and borders. This book is unsettling and strange and so, so good.

‘Shadowhouse Fall’ by Daniel José Older (Arthur A. Levine)

The second book in DJO’s Shadowhunter YA seriesShadowhouse Fall brings us right back to Sierra’s old-world-magic inflected Brooklyn, where an epic battle between good and evil rages across Prospect Park and into Flatbush. Older has a sharp ear for the way teens talk, a fierce commitment to bringing real-world issues like police brutality and colonialism to bear on his magical Brooklyn, and masterful command of both white-knuckle adventure pacing and cute-as-hell teen romance.

‘Peluda’ by Melissa Lozada-Oliva (Button Poetry)

“Maybe someday i’ll actually be chill / like the white girls, the ones who don’t shave / for political reason, the ones who took / an entire election cycle to grow / out a tuft of armpit hair.” I laughed out loud on the train at this line in Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s Peluda. You might recognize her from some of her slam poetry videos – “Like, Totally, Whatever” has over 750,000 views on YouTube alone. Lozada-Oliva’s first book, Peluda, is what it says on the tin: a book about body hair, and families and girlhood, and it will make you laugh and then break your heart.

‘Kingdom Cons’ by Yuri Herrera, translated by Lisa Dillman (And Other Stories)

The third part of the loosely-connected trilogy of life on the border that also includes Signs Preceeding the End of the World, and The Transmigration of BodiesKingdom Cons is, at least on the surface, about a bard, a singer of narco-corridos for The King. Going deeper, Herrera’s recurring themes begin cropping up: a single person, in the midst of a violent, chaotic environment, searching for some form of tenderness. As always, Herrera, in collaboration with his translator, Lisa Dillman, capture and create a language all their own.

‘Mean’ by Myriam Gurba (Emily Books/Coffee House)

Mean somehow manages to be a hilarious book about sexual assault, trauma, and hauntedness. Gurba is a mean, queer Chicana growing up in a mostly-white town in California. Mean is her coming-of-age story, and covers everything from the disappointment of white people food to the joys of skipping school. Further, her joyous reclamation of meanness, of bitchiness, her insistence on it as her holy mission is delightful. A mishmash of wildly diverging references, from Michael Jackson to Walter Benjamin, Cindi Lauper to girl saints, Gurba’s book is an utterly unique exploration of girlhood, trauma, and growing up.

‘Her Body and Other Parties’ by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf)

If you haven’t heard of Carmen Maria Machado’s book at this point in the year, you must have been living under a rock. Her debut collection of short stories hit the National Book Award longlist before it even came out, and made it to the shortlist a few weeks later. Since then, it’s made dozens of best-of lists, and praise has been heaped on it from all directions. The. Hype. Is. Real. Machado’s postapocalyptic/horror/sci-fi-ish/incredible short stories are meant to worm into the darkest parts of your brain and stay there – especially the opener, “The Husband Stitch.” If you remember the I-Can-Read classic, “The Green Ribbon,” you know there’s an absolutely bone-chilling story coming.

‘Tropico’ by Marcela Huerta (Metatron)

A book of poetry and prose that spiral around violence, a difficult father, being the child of immigrants, girlhood, and memory. The title poem, “Tropico,” tells the story of Huerta’s parents immigration from Chile through a Rollercoaster-Tycoon-style computer game about dictatorships – a brilliant mashup of old world and new. Huerta’s writing is by turns tough and tender, but always brilliant and startling and emotionally astute.

‘Things We Lost in the Fire’ by Mariana Enríquez, translated by Megan McDowell (Riverhead)

A series of deeply Argentine short stories, circling around real-life news items like addiction epidemics and illegal abortions. Standout stories include “The Intoxicated Years,” a story of drugs and female friendship told in a haunting, Greek-chorus style, and “Adela’s House,” an absolutely terrifying story I won’t say any more about for fear of spoiling it.

‘Fever Dream’ by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell (Riverhead)

Both this book and Things We Lost in the Fire have a lot in common. Both are by Argentine women, were published by the same house, and translated by the same person, and both had the power to keep me awake at night. However, Fever Dream is totally and completely its own nightmare. Similar to the work of authors like Jeff VanderMeer, a completely calm and quiet narrator slowly and methodically describes increasingly disturbing events, all leading to a meditation on toxins, mother’s love, and the destruction of the earth.

“I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika L. Sánchez (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

15-year-old Julia’s life starts to spin out of control when her perfect older sister, Olga, dies. What follows is a pitch-perfect account of what it is like to be a Mexican daughter who doesn’t want to stay acomodadita at home, who longs for bigger things than what she finds in the neighborhood, who carries family secrets. Julia’s anger and sadness and confusion and joy all got to my slightly-older imperfect Mexican daughter self. A perfect gift either for the best teen you know, or for yourself.

“The Revolutionaries Try Again” by Mauro Javier Cardenas (Coffee House)

This debut novel from Ecuadorian author Mauro Javier Cardenas is a dizzying, fractured narrative of Ecuadorian politics, failed insurrection, failed ambition, and failed friendship. The book centers on a group of friends from the same Catholic school as they grow up and change themselves and their country. The book’s style can be tricky – the story is told through fragments – of school stories, of lives, of sentences, of words, even, and circles back on itself time and time again, but the end product is a brilliant constellation of ambition, friendship, and the responsibilities we have to the place we were born.

New book: La Nochebuena: A Christmas Story

Original post by Rene Colato Lainez found here: https://labloga.blogspot.com/2017/12/la-noche-buena-christmas-story.html

Written by Antonio Sacre

Illustrated by Angela Dominguez

Age Range: 5 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 3

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0810989670

ISBN-13: 978-0810989672

Nina is visiting her grandmother in Miami for Christmas. Usually she spends it in snowy New England with her mother and her family, but this year is different. She isn’t certain what to make of a hot and humid holiday, until she learns the traditions of her father’s side of the family from her Cuban grandmother. She helps prepare for the evening and takes part in all their traditions—the intricate cooking for the feast, the dancing, the music, and the gathering of relatives and neighbors. It all comes together for a Noche Buena that Nina will never forget.

Antonio Sacre and Angela Dominguez have created a wonderful story that everyone who celebrates Christmas will enjoy. The book includes a glossary of Spanish words.

Reviews

Dominguez’s bright acrylics convey calm and joy, while Sacre’s visceral prose captures the voice of a child gaining assurance, as well as the kindness and mutual respect of a loving extended family. –Publisher Weekly

A warm bit of holiday diversity. Diane Olivo-Posner, Los Angeles Public Library – School Library Journal

A memorable celebration, equally suited to reading alone or aloud, and rich in joyful, intimate family feeling. Grades 2-4. –John Peters- Booklist

 

Antonio Sacre is a Cuban-American writer, storyteller, and performance artist. He lives in Los Angeles. Visit him online at www.antoniosacre.com.

Angela Dominguez was born in Mexico City and lives in northern California. She illustrated Ava Tree and the Wishes Three and Carmen Learns English. Visit her online at www.angeladominguezstudio.com.

In Her Debut Book, Salvadoran-American Poet Yesika Salgado Pours Her Heart Out to Help You Heal

Original post by Christine Bolaños found here at Remezcla: http://remezcla.com/features/culture/yesika-salgado-corazon/

Just a quick shout-out to Remezcla. I repost a lot of their stuff on here so please make sure you give them some clicks from time to time if you read this. Their work is vital.

 

Yesika Salgado is the picture of confidence. With her signature red lipstick, unapologetically bold fashion, and raw honesty, which peppers her debut book, the Salvadoran-American poet serves as an inspiration to her followers. But growing up, she never quite fit in, turning to books to escape the reality that she didn’t quite love and accept herself just as she was.

“I was always the sore thumb sticking out,” she tells me of her role as “la gordita” in her family.

Her self esteem only worsened with age as she hid behind the online personalities she created. She began sharing her poetry anonymously on HipHopPoetry.com and catfished men using fake photos. Then, she befriended a guy she liked and came clean after she continued to postpone their meetup.

His response changed everything.

“He asked me, ‘Why didn’t you give me the option to choose you for you? You chose for me,’” she remembers.

It was at that moment she realized she hated herself. “It’s such a weird notion and it shook me to my core,” says Salgado, who began to see a therapist after this incident. “I had a lot of medical issues that I finally had the courage to address and something in me woke up.”

She started wearing red lipstick and eventually switched out garb meant to disguise her for clothes that allowed her to shine. She, on the encouragement of Hip Hop Poetry’s founder, also began to share her poetry as Yesika. Soon, there was no stopping her. “I was in a place where I loved myself in a way I never had before,” Salgado says.

She had evolved from the friendly sidekick in others’ story to the leading lady in her own life, and it’s affected her work. Heartbreak and healing – and everything in between – make up the fabric of Yesika’s poetry. She still has her bad days – times people’s comments cut deeply – but she recovers through her words.

“I was in a place where I loved myself in a way I never had before.”

Her poetry is incredibly personal; she invites readers into moments that have defined her life. She’s written about the pain she endured after her father’s death, and any major breakup will eventually make its way into her work.

“We, Latinas, are really good at laughing at our tragedy and that’s what (gives me the courage) to share my heartache so freely,” she said.

Her debut book, Corazón, is already available at publisher Not a Cult Media’s website but will drop in March 2018 on Amazon. The poetry collection weaves together different types of love at various stages in life. “The yearning for love, falling in love, and falling out of love, and returning to yourself,” Salgado explains. Her connection with her father finds its way into the book, as does her perception of the relationship between her parents, who had to face his alcoholism. “His passing has really affected the way I love people and that’s referenced in the book,” she adds.

Exposing her vulnerability has resonated with her followers. On social media, people have shared touching messages about what her book has meant to them. “I tell people that poetry, at its core, is the constant reminder that we are not alone,” Salgado shares. “All of us seek poetry to tell us that someone else feels the way we do.”

The book’s name comes from the affectionate nickname her father gave her. “It was a word I associated with being loved, and I knew that was going to be the title of my first book,” Salgado says.

“Poetry, at its core, is the constant reminder that we are not alone.”

By the time she signed her contract with independent publishing company Not a Cult Media, Yesika’s body- and sex-positive words helped her make a name for herself on and offline. She was a member of Da Poetry Lounge, a Los Angeles institution that bills itself as the country’s largest weekly open mic. As she fulfilled weeks of speaking engagements, she furiously worked to submit her manuscript on deadline.

“The publishing house took a risk on me, and I took a risk on them, and it’s completely paid off,” she says.

For the book’s cover, an artist drew a single ripened mango on a branch with a leaf in the shape of a human heart. The background cover is in the blood orange color she requested. The poetry that fills the pages and the cover of the book was the perfect culmination of her life to this point.

“That cover influenced the name of the chapters and a lot of the poetry selection within the book,” she says. “I ended up thinking of my heart as this ripening fruit, and it became part of the story.

The sweet fruit was fitting as Yesika references mangoes throughout her poetry. She recalls picking mangoes on her family’s property during childhood summers spent in El Salvador. To get to them, she had to cross a field of cows, which terrified her. One had kicked her before. If she made it across unscathed, she would reward the cows with mangoes. It was an act of bravery and love, as her book is now.

Yesika, who formed Chingona Fire, a feminist poetry collective with best friend Angela Aguirre, got her start by sharing her poems on Instagram. A few years ago, this life would have seemed impossible to Yesika. But her courageousness has pushed her out of her comfort zone. She quit her job at CVS Pharmacy a about a year ago. At the time, she had only saved enough to keep her afloat for three months. Schools quickly began to book her, allowing her to support herself merely through her art.

Now, her book is making waves. In the weeks it’s been available for pre-order, she’s sold 1,000 books, and it’s on Amazon’s best-seller lists, including women’s poetry titles and Hispanic American poetry titles, where she reached No. 1.

Yesika is already planning her next book. Now, books aren’t an escape from her life; instead, they’re a tool to help others heal. “If I make someone feel less alone and more seen and become more unapologetic and able to forgive themselves,” she says, “then I feel I’ve done my job as a writer.”

New Book: Words of Passage National Longing and the Imagined Lives of Mexican Migrants by Hilary Parsons Dick

I’ll probably re-post something about this in May 2018 when this book ACTUALLY comes out, but I know that there are some book nerds out there like me that want to know what’s on the horizon.

Migration fundamentally shapes the processes of national belonging and socioeconomic mobility in Mexico—even for people who never migrate or who return home permanently. Discourse about migrants, both at the governmental level and among ordinary Mexicans as they envision their own or others’ lives in “El Norte,” generates generic images of migrants that range from hardworking family people to dangerous lawbreakers. These imagined lives have real consequences, however, because they help to determine who can claim the resources that facilitate economic mobility, which range from state-sponsored development programs to income earned in the North.

Words of Passage is the first full-length ethnography that examines the impact of migration from the perspective of people whose lives are affected by migration, but who do not themselves migrate. Hilary Parsons Dick situates her study in the small industrial city of Uriangato, in the state of Guanajuato. She analyzes the discourse that circulates in the community, from state-level pronouncements about what makes a “proper” Mexican to working-class people’s talk about migration. Dick shows how this migration discourse reflects upon and orders social worlds long before—and even without—actual movements beyond Mexico. As she listens to men and women trying to position themselves within the migration discourse and claim their rights as “proper” Mexicans, she demonstrates that migration is not the result of the failure of the Mexican state but rather an essential part of nation-state building.

 

Find it here: https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/dick-words-of-passage

New Book: REMEX: Toward an Art History of the NAFTA Era by Amy Sara Carroll

REMEX presents the first comprehensive examination of artistic responses and contributions to an era defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994–2008). Marshaling over a decade’s worth of archival research, interviews, and participant observation in Mexico City and the Mexico–US borderlands, Amy Sara Carroll considers individual and collective art practices, recasting NAFTA as the most fantastical inter-American allegory of the turn of the millennium. Carroll organizes her interpretations of performance, installation, documentary film, built environment, and body, conceptual, and Internet art around three key coordinates—City, Woman, and Border. She links the rise of 1990s Mexico City art in the global market to the period’s consolidation of Mexico–US border art as a genre. She then interrupts this transnational art history with a sustained analysis of chilanga and Chicana artists’ remapping of the figure of Mexico as Woman.

A tour de force that depicts a feedback loop of art and public policy—what Carroll terms the “allegorical performative”—REMEX adds context to the long-term effects of the post-1968 intersection of D.F. performance and conceptualism, centralizes women artists’ embodied critiques of national and global master narratives, and tracks post-1984 border art’s “undocumentation” of racialized and sexualized reconfigurations of North American labor pools. The book’s featured artwork becomes the lens through which Carroll rereads a range of events and phenomenon from California’s Proposition 187 to Zapatismo, US immigration policy, 9/11 (1973/2001), femicide in Ciudad Juárez, and Mexico’s war on drugs.

Find it here:

https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/carroll-remex

Latino Book Review’s List for 2017 Outstanding Latino Authors

How many of these authors did you read in 2017? I’ve got some work to do! 
The year 2017 will definitely be a year to remember. Throughout the year we have witnessed major social and political shifts that have shocked us to the core. Nonetheless, it is times of hardship that will continue to prove the resilience of our community and drive us to express ourselves in the most creative ways. Without a doubt, 2017 has also been a year of important victories for Latino literature, including the court overturn of the infamous Mexican American studies ban in the state of Arizona–thanks to the efforts of people like Tony Diaz and countless other activists who fought a long battle to protect our literature. 2017 was also the year Juan Felipe Herrera finished his second term as the first Latino United States Poet Laureate, the year that novelist Cristina Rivera Garza began the first Creative Writing PhD program in Spanish in the entire nation, as well as the year that Marvel chose Gabby Rivera to write the first comic book about a queer Latina superhero. As we can appreciate–regardless of the obstacles we’ve encountered–there are plenty of remarkable achievements to celebrate when it comes to Latino literature. For these and many other reasons, Latino Book Review has chosen the following 10 writers as this year’s Outstanding Latino Authors–for their excellent work and breakthroughs in today’s literature. 

1.

Angela Cervantes

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Angela Cervantes is an award-winning author. She is the author of Coco: The Junior Novelization(RH/Disney 2017) Her debut book, Gaby, Lost and Found(Scholastic 2013), was named Best Youth Chapter book by the International Latino Book Awards and a Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of 2014. Angela is also the author of Allie, First At Last (Scholastic 2016) and the soon to be available novel, MeFrida and the Secret of the Peacock Ring (Scholastic 2018).

2.

Gabby Rivera

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Gabby Rivera is a queer Latinx writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently writing AMERICA, America Chavez’s solo series, for Marvel. America is Marvel’s first Latina lesbian superhero. Gabby is also the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Juliet Takes a Breath which was listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month.

3.

Juan Felipe Herrera

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Juan Felipe Herrera is the 2015-2017 United States Poet Laureate. He was initiated into the Word by the fire-speakers of the early Chicano Movimiento and by heavy exposure to various poetry, jazz, and blues performance streams. His published works include Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream, Mayan Drifter: Chicano Poet in the Lowlands of the Americas, and Thunderweavers / Tejedoras de Rayos.

4.

Adam Silvera

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Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me,and They Both Die at the End. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for his debut. Adam was born and raised in the Bronx, and he was a bookseller before shifting to children’s publishing. He has worked at a literary development company, a creative writing website for teens, and as a book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels.

5.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the author of winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award for his books for adults. the Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award, the Pura Belpre Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

6.

Cristina Rivera Garza

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Cristina Rivera Garza is an award-winning author, translator, and critic. Her books, originally written in Spanish, have been translated into multiple languages. She is the recipient of the Roger Caillois Award for Latin American Literature (2013), the Anna Seghers-Preis (2005), and the only two-time winner of the International Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize (2001; 2009). She is currently a Distinguished Professor in Hispanic Studies, and heads the first Creative Writing PhD program in Spanish in the U.S. at the University of Houston.

7.

Isabel Allende

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Isabel Allende was born in Peru and raised in Chile. She is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

8.

Sandra Cisneros

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Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class.  Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and national and international book awards, including Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.

9.

Julia Álvarez

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Julia Álvarez is a novelist, poet, and essayist. She is the author of nineteen books, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies–a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Selection. She has also received other recognitions such as the National Medal of Arts and a Latina Leader Award in Literature in from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

10.

Junot Díaz

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Junot Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown; The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award.

New documentary: Lupe Under the Sun

Latin@ Experience, Border Studies, Film Studies, Migrant Workers, Mental Health
2016. Director Rodrigo Reyes. Producer Su Kim.
78 Minutes. In Spanish with English Subtitles.

Lupe Under the Sun is a neorealist film following an aging migrant worker living in California, who longs to return to Mexico before it is too late. Featuring a cast of nonprofessional actors, real

farmworkers and authentic locations, Lupe Under the Sun tackles issues of depression, homesickness and the immigrant myth of the American Dream.

Long estranged from his family in Michoacán, migrant laborer Lupe finds relief from the backbreaking work of harvesting peaches in California’s Central Valley through camaraderie and a quiet love affair with fellow immigrant Gloria. Soon the stability of his daily routine begins to crack under the weight of a life scarred with regret and missed opportunities. Filmed in a classic neorealist style, director Rodrigo Reyes’s deeply moving debut fiction feature, inspired by the life of his own grandfather, is at once an intimately drawn meditation on life’s missed chances and a tale of the universal struggles of immigrants. Winner of Film Independent’s Canon Filmmaker Award, Reyes’s unforgettable film heralds the arrival of an important new voice in American cinema.

Lupe Under The Sun (TRAILER) from GOOD DOCS on Vimeo.

 

César Chávez Fellowships at Dartmouth

César Chávez Fellowships

The César Chávez Fellowships support scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. The Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers. We invite applications for both a predoctoral dissertation fellowship and a postdoctoral fellowship.

CÉSAR CHÁVEZ PREDOCTORAL DISSERTATION FELLOWSHIP

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Dartmouth College invites applications for the César Chávez Dissertation Fellowship. The fellowship supports scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. Particular attention will be given to candidates whose work augments and complements current faculty in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS). Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic achievement, promise in both research and teaching, and their demonstrated commitment to educational diversity. Applications from candidates who are underrepresented in their fields are especially welcome.

This is a two-year residential fellowship. Fellows are expected to complete the dissertation before the second year and then transition to a postdoctoral appointment. Throughout, fellows are expected to pursue research activities while participating fully in the intellectual life of the department and the college. During the second year of residency, fellows teach one course. The first year, fellows receive an annual stipend of approximately $36,000 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses; as a postdoctoral fellow in the second year, the stipend is approximately $55,200 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses (exact funding levels for 2018-20 will be set at the time of offer).

Chávez Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers.

APPLICATION MATERIALS

  1. Research statement outlining completed research (including dissertation), work in progress, and plans for publication (maximum two pages single spaced);
  2. Teaching statement outlining past and future teaching interests (maximum one page single spaced)
  3. Fellowship program statement describing your motivations to join a multidisciplinary cohort; the statement should also describe prior and potential contributions to diversity in the context of academic research, teaching, and/or service (maximum one page single spaced)
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Three confidential letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the dissertation advisor and address the projected timeline for completion.

Application through Interfolio can be accessed here: http://apply.interfolio.com/47327

Review of applications will begin February 18, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged.

CÉSAR CHÁVEZ POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Dartmouth College invites applications for the César Chávez Postdoctoral Fellowship. The Fellowship supports scholars whose research addresses aspects of Latinx experience and culture. Particular attention will be given to candidates whose work augments and complements current faculty in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS). Applicants will be selected on the basis of their academic achievement, promise in both research and teaching, and their demonstrated commitment to educational diversity. Applications from candidates who are underrepresented in their fields are especially welcome.

This is a one-year residential fellowship, with one course to be taught in Winter or Spring Quarter. Fellows are expected to pursue research activities while participating fully in the intellectual life of the LALACS program and the college. Fellows receive an annual stipend of approximately $55,200 plus benefits and an allocation for research expenses (exact funding levels for 2018-19 will be set at the time of offer).

Chávez Fellows are part of a multidisciplinary cohort of approximately ten predoctoral and postdoctoral scholars, all committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines. Fellows participate together in mentoring and professional development programming, including guidance in preparing for faculty careers.

APPLICATION MATERIALS

  1. Research statement outlining completed research (including dissertation), work in progress, and plans for publication (maximum two pages single spaced);
  2. Teaching statement outlining past and future teaching interests (maximum one page single spaced)
  3. Fellowship program statement describing your interests in joining a multidisciplinary cohort; the statement should also describe prior and potential contributions to diversity in the context of academic research, teaching, and/or service (maximum one page single spaced)
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Three confidential letters of recommendation. For ABD candidates, at least one of the letters should explicitly address the timeline for dissertation completion. Fellows are expected to have a PhD in hand at the time of appointment (usually by July 1, 2018).

Application through Interfolio can be accessed here: http://apply.interfolio.com/47328

Review of applications will begin February 18, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.

Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, marital status, or any other legally protected status. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups are encouraged.

La Horchata Zine Is Giving Central Americans a Much-Needed Platform to Showcase Their Art

Original post by Raquel Reichard found here: http://remezcla.com/features/culture/central-american-zine/

Latin American art history often forgets the contributions of painters, poets, sculptors, photographers, and ceramicists from Central America. Rarely mentioned is June Beer, an Afro-Nicaraguan painter from the Bluefields, whose African, feminist and pro-rebel work during the Sandinista revolutionary movement landed her in jail twice. Neither do we hear about El Salvador’s Noe Canjura, a peasant-turned-famed painter whose landscapes are considered among the greatest in France, or Panamanian poet Amelia Denis de Icaza, whose sorrowing patriotic writing during the construction of the Panama Canal came to represent the mood of her people at the time. To ensure their place in art doesn’t go unacknowledged any longer, a new magazine has cropped up to highlight the works of current artists of Central American descent.

La Horchata Zine is a seasonal publication creating space for people of Nicaraguan, Honduran, Guatemalan, Panamanian, Costa Rican, Belizean, and Salvadoran ancestry to display their work. But with Central Americans being the fastest-growing population of Latinos migrating to the United States, it’s also a site for a swelling, diverse community hungry for representation to see themselves, their culture, and their history reflected in print.

“There are different art magazines online right now that are focused on Latinos, but a lot of times it’s Chicano or South American artists. Central America is forgotten about a lot, but there are so many Central Americans in the country right now, and a lot of us are artists. It’s nice to have a place as a Central American where you can relate to the work or see our voices,” co-founder Veronica Melendez tells me.

“Central America is forgotten about a lot, but there are so many Central Americans in the country right now.”

For two years, the photographer-illustrator talked about the need for this art book with her friend, Kimberly Benavides. On a whim, the the two launched La Horchata Zine in November. The Washington, DC-based Salvadoran-Guatemalan Melendez saw a call for submissions for the DC Art Book Fair and signed up without a publication in development. To her surprise, they landed a table at the event, leaving them with just two weeks to materialize the publication they had daydreamed about for so long.

The first issue, Otoño, is a beautiful 44-page paperback zine featuring the works of six artists, including both founders. The publication is comprised of photography, graphic design, embroidery and poetry, with each artist drawing inspiration from their Central American heritage, either through aesthetic or theme. Melendez’s vibrant illustrations, for instance, depict items and foods found in her household, from La Morena canned peppers, to Maseca corn flour, to margarita cookies. Meanwhile, Benavides’ collection of old family photos examines loving across socially constructed borders.

“People think that there are no Central American artists, but it’s really that they’re not being highlighted. It’s there. We found it. It exists. There’s just not a lot of connections for them to have that platform, but we made that platform because we know we have to show this work,” says the part-Salvadoran, part-Argentine Benavides.

“It was hard to learn to love my roots in an environment like that, where different cultures weren’t celebrated often.”

But the zine, like art more broadly, offers much more than a reflection of self. It’s also a way for artist and spectator to feel affirmed in their experiences and navigate their lives as Central Americans in the US, or other diasporic communities. In Elizabeth Fernanda Rodriguez’s pieces for the publication, the artist tackles issues like microaggressions, tokenization and assimilation. The Salvadoran DC native transfers old photos and objects found in her home to fabric, embroidering quotes, thoughts and reflections to create a powerful, and very personal, body of work. In one piece, the 23-year-old embroiders “It was hard to learn to love your brownness in North Arlington” over a childhood photo of her alongside other children. In another, she writes, “I sometimes wonder if I was just the token brown friend …. probably” over three youth group photos. In each, her face is covered with brown needlework, emphasizing the dissonance between her and her white friends.

“It was hard to learn to love my roots in an environment like that, where different cultures weren’t celebrated often and, when they were, it being turned into a costume,” says Rodriguez, who was raised in Arlington, Virginia. “I hope my work and the zine touches other people like me, with parents from El Salvador and Central America, who may have felt a little self-hate, displacement or need to assimilate despite being born or growing up here and who are learning to love their roots.”

While instructors have encouraged both Melendez and Benavides to avoid focusing too much on identity art and to not include aspects of their Central American backgrounds, they say, it would be unnatural to them, as well as a disservice to their community. Just as there are several variations of horchata, the popular Latin American beverage the publication is named after, the duo believe Central American artists bring different experiences, histories, cultures, identities, and talents that deserve to live and be seen in art spaces.

“If there was ever a doubt that we are here, I want La Horchata Zine to show that we exist, we make art, and it’s great, beautiful and important,” Melendez says.

Purchase La Horchata Zine here, and send submissions for its Invierno issue to Melendez and Benavides via email.