Sunday, March 06, 2016

"The Essence of Tejanidad:" _Entre Guadalupe y Malinche_, a New Anthology Just Published!

cover design/art by Santa Barraza
"There is a street corner in the city of Laredo, Tejas, known as the doorway to the United States and Mexico, where two streets converge like the history of Tejana writers.  It was upon the sight of this corner sign, Malinche and Guadalupe, that the writers and editors of the first ever Tejana literature anthology, Inés Hernández-Ávila and Norma Elia Cantú, decided upon the name for their book." (Anjanette Gautier, ¡Ahora Sí!

Professors and editors, Inés Hernández-Ávila and Norma Elia Cantú
Photo by Anita Quintanilla
La Bloga is pleased to announce the publication of Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art, co-edited by Professors Inés Hernández-Ávila and Norma Elia Cantú.  Norma is with us today, answering our questions about the anthology.  Thank you for being with us, Norma. 

Norma Elia Cantú:  Thank you so much for announcing this groundbreaking anthology!

Amelia M.L. Montes:  How did you become involved with this project?

Norma Elia Cantú:  One of my doctoral students, Larissa Mercado-Lopez, was doing a Directed Readings Course with me and looking at Tejana poets in the archives in Austin. We talked of someday collecting Tejana poetry from the late 1800 to the present, but we tabled the project and never got to it.  So, when I was first approached by Inés Hernández-Ávila to collaborate on this collection, I jumped at the chance.  It was a truly wonderful collaboration as we each brought to the project different and complimentary skills and contacts.

Amelia M.L. Montes:  How does this anthology contribute to Latina/Chicana voices in the U.S.?

Norma Elia Cantú:  The anthology contributes to the Latina/Chicana literary corpus by highlighting Tejana voices.  I am sure we could collect the writings by Latinas/Chicanas in the various regions, but this one is particularly close to my heart and I truly believe that it constitutes a major contribution to Latina letters as it spans a period of over 50 years of literary production in the state and includes some of the more important Tejana writers of the Chicana/Chicano movement and some of the most important contemporary Tejana writers. 

Left to right:  Sylvia Herrera, Sylvia Ledesma, Susana Almanza, Norma E. Cantú, Inés Hernández-Ávila, ire'ne lara silva
Photo by Bryce Milligan
Amelia M.L. Montes:  Describe your contribution to the anthology.  What was the inspiration for the work you chose and what you chose from your own writings?

Norma Elia Cantú:  We worked collaboratively to solicit contributions.  Then we worked together to choose those we included and organized the pieces into the major divisions or sections of the book all the while keeping in mind the overarching theme of land and rootedness that we had decided would form the framework for the pieces that we chose. 

Left to right:  Celeste De Luna, Emmy Perez
Photo by Celeste De Luna
My pieces touch on various themes that fit in the various sections.  For instance, the poem for Manuela Solis Sager is an attempt to highlight the important activist work of one of our Tejana foremothers.  As in much of my work, the border is central to my pieces and I wanted to highlight the essence of Tejanidad that being from the border entails.  I guess that’s what inspired me, the women who preceded me, and the land of my birth. 

I would like to invite everyone to jump in and spend time with these fabulous Tejanas whose contributions weave a beautiful tapestry of Tejanidad.  I know that those of us who heard from over half of the contributors at the book launch in Austin in February were moved to tears and to laughter.  We marveled at the tremendous talent of so many Tejanas gathered between the covers of the book and graced with Santa Barraza’s artwork! 

Amelia M.L Montes:  Thank you so much, Dr. Cantú.  Poet and fiction writer, ire’ne lara silva, was one of the organizers of the symposium that took place in February.  Below is her summary of the event.  We thought it important to include this information as a historical record of the contributors in the anthology (the writers and artists) who attended. Gracias to ire'ne!

Left to right:  Angela Valenzuela, ire'ne lara silva, Rosemary Catacalos, Anel I. Flores
Photo by Anita Quintanilla

On February 26-27th 2016, the Entre Guadalupe y Malinche Anthology Release and Symposium took place at the ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas.  All events were free and open to the public.  We had standing room only crowds at the opening night reading Friday, February 26th, with editors, Norma E. Cantú and Inés Hernández-Ávila, and featured writers: 

Bárbara Renaud González      Celeste Guzmán Mendoza     Mary Guerrero Milligan
Tammy Melody Gómez         Emmy Pérez                           Edith Silvas
Susana Almanza                     Oralia Garza de Cortés          ire’ne lara silva
Evangelina Vigil                     Liliana Valenzuela                 Sylvia Ledesma
Sylvia Herrera                        Raquel Valles-Senties

Left to Right:  Gloria Amescua, Liliana Valenzuela
Photo by Anita Quintanilla
On Saturday, February 27th, we had five panels and workshops including:  “Gathering our Stories:  The Process of Creating Entre Guadalupe y Malinche:  Tejanas in Literature and Art” with Norma E. Cantú and Inés Hernández-Ávila, moderated by Emmy Pérez; “When Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Malinche/La Llorona Were Feminists:  How Spirituality, Legend, and Reclaiming ‘La Malinche’ Saved Chicana Feminism,” workshop and discussion group led by Martha Cotera; “Witnessing/Writing: Stories of Home” led by Norma E. Cantú and Inés Hernández-Ávila; “Telling It Tejana,” discussion panel led by Celeste de Luna and Verónica Ortegón; “Circle Dialogue,” led by Susan Morales Guerra. 

Workshop led by Martha Cotera
photo by Anita Quintanilla
We then closed with another standing room only reading at 4:00p.m. with:

Rosemary Catacalos               Gloria Amescua          María Limón
Enedina Vásquez                    Angela Valenzuela      Susan Morales Guerra
Mary Sue Galindo                  Josephine Cásarez       Laura Lopez
Anel Flores                             Verónica Ortegón        María Teresa Pedroche

Left to right: ire'ne lara silva, Inés Hernández-Ávila, Norma E. Cantú, Barbara Renaud Gonzalez
Photo by Bryce Milligan

Thank you also to photographers Anita Quintanilla, Celeste De Luna, Celeste Guzman Mendoza, and Bryce Milligan who took these wonderful photographs. 

Felicidades from La Bloga! 

Photo by Celeste Guzman Mendoza

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