The American Book Awards, established in 1978 by the Before Columbus Foundation, recognize outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.
The 2009 list of winners:
Houston A. Baker, Jr., Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Right Era (Columbia University Press)
Danit Brown, Ask for a Convertible (Pantheon)
Jericho Brown, Please (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
José Antonio Burciaga, The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga, edited by Mimi R. Gladstein and Daniel Chacón (University of Arizona Press)
Claire Hope Cummings, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds (Beacon Press)
Stella Pope Duarte, If I Die in Juarez (The University of Arizona Press)
Linda Gregg, All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press)
Suheir Hammad, Breaking Poems (Cypher Books)
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (Pantheon Books)
George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger than Itself: The A.A.C.M. and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press)
Patricia Santana, Ghosts of El Grullo (University of New Mexico Press)
Jack Spicer, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, edited by Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian (Wesleyan University Press)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Miguel Algarin
Congratulations to all the winners and a tip of La Bloga's sombrero to names we know well: Miguel Algarin, José Antonio Burciaga, Patricia Santana, and Stella Pope Duarte.
Thus begins an article by Sandra Gonzalez entitled Documentary Sheds New Light on Gloria Anzaldúa in The Monitor, found at this link. The film is scheduled for several screenings in Texas including South Texas College and the University of Texas at Austin. The schedule and more information about the film can be found at this site.
The film makes a good partner to the upcoming The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader, edited by AnaLouise Keating, Duke University (January).
Publishers Weekly's review noted that Keating collects poems, essays, prose and commentaries by Anzaldúa, revealing the public figure—the pathbreaking queer Chicana writer—as well as a sensual and deeply spiritual iconoclast. Anzaldúa’s voice emerges—defiant, mercenary, passionate and unapologetic—as she writes her seminal Borderlands/La frontera while teaching in Vermont, an environment so alien it brought her closer to her roots; as she becomes one of the first to teach Chicano literature to her students; as she compiles the classic feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back.
The art work, by renowned Chicano Park artist Mario Torero, was unveiled this week on the University of California at San Diego campus. As expected, right wing fanatics have already attacked the art.But as Jorge Mariscal, professor of literature and director of Chicano studies, pointed out: “I think it represents a breakthrough in terms of UCSD mirroring for the first time real, historically underrepresented communities.”
Another hat tip to UCSD and Mario Torero -- hope I get to see the mural up close and personal one day.
Here's the art that will be used for the cover as rendered by the legendary artist César Martínez. Great way to start a book.