17 4 / 2014
"Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress - which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once."
16 4 / 2014
okay, a reader asked for both women and men Latin@ author recommendations. i took this list i originally made last year, and have added a few more names. unfortunately, i could do this all day. except for the fact i’m a single mami, and my child would like some time with me *s please remind me, when you’d like updates. ~canéla
ETA: i didn’t realize the original title of this post referred to “feminist" literature. someone must have asked me for that. what’s here now is not strictly feminist; i don’t identify as such (though there are rumors i do, elsewhere on the interwebz, mm). post title has been corrected. also didn’t mean to use the term "male" (skillet on the stove is such a temptation. wtf was i thinking?).
Achy Obejas: Cubana. Lesbiana author of fiction, including We came All The Way from Cuba So You Could Dress Like This?, Memory Mambo, and Ruins. Most available used and as ebooks.
Edwidge Danticat is one of the most acclaimed authors from Haiti. Danticat authored Breath, Eyes, Memory when she was just twenty-five years old. She’s not Latina, but the query was for Caribbean authors, and Danticat should not be missed.
Michelle Cliff was born in Kingston, Jamaica. While she has many notable works (and readers should look for all), what I’m recommending here is her (often overlooked) Claiming an Identity They Taught Me to Despise, in which Cliff sensually and successfully delves into the many divisions of self created by being mixed and of differing cultures—including lesbianism. Also, now might be a good time to mention I was extremely displeased tributes to the passing of Adrienne Rich did not mention the long-term relationship between Rich and Cliff. Ahem.
Este Puente Mi Espalda/This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga. Groundbreaking anthology of women’s voices. Out of print, but available in pdf at the above link. (note: i don’t in any way endorse the works of anzaldúa, but i do endorse the women who are included in these anthologies)
Haciendo caras/Making face, Making Soul edited by Gloria Anzaldúa, is the sister edition to Este puente/This bridge called my back. There are used editions available. Yes, I’m a contributor to this book, but I’m not proud of that, so read the other works, mm.
Sandra Cisneros is a Chicana who writes both poetry and fiction, from a witty, sometimes raunchy, feminist perspective. I recommend every Latina read The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek. Cisneros’ poetry will also cut to the bone, with her truth-telling, mm hmm.
Aurora Levins Morales: puertorriqueña writer (currently ill, seeking community aid). Has written extensively with her mother, as well as publishing works of her own. Recommended. (I recently posted her “Class Poem”; check it.)
tatiana de la tierra. wonderful colombiana chingona, who passed in 2012. her book of poetry, para las duras: una fenomenología lesbiana/for the hard ones became available as a bilingual edition, from my compadre brent beltrán, over at the former calaca press. we remember her with admiration. que descanse in paz.
Lorna Dee Cervantes is one of the earliest Chicana indigenous writers to make an impact on the common canon (we used to call you “Lorna Dee Norton Cervantes,” for all the times you were anthologized; did you know that, ‘mana? *s). I recommend From the Cables of Genocide, as one of the many places a reader could start, in Lorna Dee’s vast series of accomplishments. She’s still here with us, producing such excellent work—and, of course, never being paid enough for her troubles, mm hmm (she published her first poem at 15). Although she was discouraged from speaking Spanish in her youth, Cervantes is quite capable in the language, now.
Jose Antonio Villareal: Chicano author, made famous by his novel Pocho, an exploration of the pocho cultura. Available used, in many bookstores.
Arturo Islas was a Tex-Mex Chicano, who survived childhood polio to become an award-winning author and beloved Stanford professor. His passing in 1991, of AIDS-related causes, saddened many of us. In addition to an uncompleted manuscript, Islas is the author of two related novels, both featuring the Angel family. Both study themes of fronteras, faith, sexuality, belonging, and much more. His last work, The Rain God, was originally titled Día de Los Muertos. The previous book is Migrant Souls. Both are available in paperback, sometimes as used texts. Find all his books online.
Tomás Rivera. Here, I’m gonna do a little Chicano history lesson, because I don’t see many people posting about or remembering Sr. Rivera. He lived from 1935-1984; was a Chicano author, poet, and educator; came up as a campesino; advocated for Mexican@ education; earned a BA and Ph.D.; wrote one of the most highly-influential novels—and in Spanish—of his time; was the first recipient of the Premio Quinto Sol award; became a professor; and was the first Chicano to hold the position of chancellor in the UC system. I’m gonna recommend we start with the book for which Rivera earned such praise, … y no se tragó la tierra, which is available in both english and spanish editions; hardcover and softcover; new and used. get to know this guy *s
alurista. often considered the founding father of the chicano (literary) movement, alurista (always written lower case) is a chingón, from start to finish, whose opinions have been widely mimicked, shredded, and lost in translation. gente need go to the source. we may not always agree with the man, but you won’t understand the raices de chicanism@, without reading the poetry and watching the videos of alurista. and, if you get a chance, go hang with the man. he enjoys the company *s and, yes, i’m throwing him in here as both historical and controversial. jovenes need to think for themselves, no? *s
some poets, available online:
Leticia Hernández-Linares, Chicana poet.
Diana Marie Delgado, Latina poet.
Deborah A. Miranda, Indigenousmexicana lesbiana author.
16 4 / 2014
i just realized something. I’m a senior in college and I don’t know most of the black underclassmen so I’ve been feeling like this disconnect. We got most of our nine back and I wasn’t even excited. But then I saw one of the Sigma’s today that was an upperclassmen when I was a freshman, and I don’t know him like that but we recognized each other and said hey. There was the nice sense of familiarity and welcome-ness that haven’t experienced with the greeks or the the black union groups in a minute.
16 4 / 2014
• “At least you’re not dying!”
• “You’re only disabled if you let yourself be.”
• “You need to tell yourself you’re going to get better, else you won’t.”
• “But you can’t be in pain ALL the time, don’t exaggerate.”
• “You don’t LOOK ill.”
• “There’s so many people worse off than you.”
• “I’m sure you don’t REALLY need help.”
• “Sometimes it’s easier to just give up.”
• “Stop being so negative.”