Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas…
Ray González is the author of Memory Fever (University of Arizona Press, 1999), a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, Turtle Pictures (Arizona, 2000), which received the 2001 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and a collection of essays, The Underground Heart: A Return to a Hidden Landscape (Arizona, 2002), which received the 2003 Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Non-fiction, was named one of ten Best Southwest Books of the Year by the Arizona Humanities Commission, named one of the Best Non-fiction Books of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News, and selected as a Book of the Month by the El Paso Public Library. He is the author of other books of poetry, including four from BOA Editions: The Heat of Arrivals (1997 PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award), Cabato Sentora (2000 Minnesota Book Award Finalist), The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande (2002 nominee for The Pulitzer Prize, recipient of a National Book Critic's Circle Award Notable Book Citation, and a 2003 finalist for The Texas Institute of Letters Award in Poetry), and Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems (2005).
González is also the author of two collections of short stories, The Ghost of John Wayne (Arizona, 2001), winner of a 2002 Western Heritage Award for Best Short Story and a 2002 Latino Heritage Award in Literature), and Circling the Tortilla Dragon (Creative Arts, 2002). His poetry has appeared in the 1999, 2000, and 2003 editions of The Best American Poetry (Scribners) and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses 2000 (Pushcart Press). His non-fiction is included in the second edition of The Norton Anthology of Nature Writing (W.W. Norton). He is the editor of twelve anthologies, most recently No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 American Poets (Tupelo Press, 2002). He has served as Poetry Editor of The Bloomsbury Review for twenty-two years and founded LUNA, a poetry journal, in 1998.
González is a Full Professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. His awards include a 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature from The Border Regional Library Association, a 2002 Loft McKnight Fellowship in Poetry, a 2001 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, a 1993 Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award for Excellence in Editing, and a 1998 Colorado Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
The following piece appears in the fall/winter 2003 issue of Wed del Sol’s Double Room, an online journal of flash fiction and prose poetry:
The Third Hand
By Ray González
The third hand rose in the year of the body, gave itself an eye plucked out of harmony and what was touched by the lost child. The third hand resolved to hold onto justice before the river of the disenchanted world swept it away. This meant strange evolutions and tattoos on proud skin, guides toward ecstasy involving great relationships among individuals who previously distrusted each other.
The third hand assumed the physical space of the master, made a fist in response to the ocean approaching from the west, shadows and monuments flowing as if their foundations were being questioned by the hand opening its fist and spreading its fingers, palm upward, the arm extended in the air as if someone was being arrested.
The third hand developed a pattern of comfort that appeared in the books when they were studied. Tranquility was a hand signal that awoke the shadows in the vein of the wrist, made it revolve around a softening touch. The darkness in the knuckles meant a hidden thing would be revealed. The third hand obeyed and was caught between the left and the right hands, a moment when it prevailed in stark confusion and contrast to the pair of hands that folded into themselves and let the vine climb through the arms.
NUEVO LIBRO: This month, the University of Texas Press publishes With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians by Catrióna Rueda Esquibel. From the publisher:
With the 1981 publication of the groundbreaking anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa ushered in an era of Chicana lesbian writing. But while these two writers have achieved iconic status, observers of the Chicana/o experience have been slow to perceive the existence of a whole community—lesbian and straight, male as well as female—who write about the Chicana lesbian experience. To create a first full map of that community, this book explores a wide range of plays, novels, and short stories by Chicana/o authors that depict lesbian characters or lesbian desire. Catrióna Rueda Esquibel starts from the premise that Chicana/o communities, theories, and feminisms cannot be fully understood without taking account of the perspectives and experiences of Chicana lesbians. To open up these perspectives, she engages in close readings of works centered around the following themes: La Llorona, the Aztec Princess, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, girlhood friendships, rural communities and history, and Chicana activism. Her investigation broadens the community of Chicana lesbian writers well beyond Moraga and Anzaldúa, while it also demonstrates that the histories of Chicana lesbians have had to be written in works of fiction because these women have been marginalized and excluded in canonical writings on Chicano life and experience.
SOMOS PRIMOS: The January issue of Somos Primos is out. Edited by Mimi Lozano, Somos Primos is dedicated to “Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues.”
MELANIE VARGAS IS BACK: Michele Martínez has published her second suspense novel starring Melanie Vargas. In The Finishing School (William Morrow), as two beautiful teenagers lie dead under suspicious circumstances, prosecutor Vargas embarks on a wild chase that leads her from the rarefied world of New York's elite private schools to the darkest recesses of the city's nightlife and, ultimately, into a fight for her life with a devious killer. Read an excerpt.
SPRING RELEASE: I get word that the paperback version of Luis Alberto Urrea's brilliant novel, The Hummingbird's Daughter (Little, Brown), will come out this April. I reviewed it last year on The Elegant Variation and also had the opportunity to interview Urrea concerning his novel. More later.
All done. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadre at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!