Friday, June 17, 2005

A Shark, A Hummingbird, A Little Jesús, And So Many Books

Manuel Ramos

Hinojosa on Writing
Luis Urrea in Denver
La Raza de Colorado
Pluma Fronteriza and Libros, Libros

Hinojosa on Writing
Words of wisdom from El Maestro, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, taken from his interview in Chicano Detective Fiction by Susan Baker Sotelo:

"Without reading, no writer gets anywhere. Imagination is helpful but it will flag without reading .... At present I go to bed with Cervantes, whom I've read a great number of times, and with Montaigne. If one plans to write, one must be like a shark, which, by the way is what defines a writer: you read everything, and like a shark, you have no natural enemies. When Mexican American students tell me they do not relate to Shakespeare, I tell them they're in trouble, and that their language will be deficient as will be their thinking. Someone may think I'm being hard nosed, but that's what writing is ... tough. It's not for people whose feelings are hurt easily.

Living, observing, listening, undergoing a varied number of experiences, knowing the language, and the language used by the different social classes of this country and any other where one's characters appear and so on is not only important, it is also essential. ... One does not need to take classes in creative writing to be a writer [but one does need models and] Graham Greene would be someone who would be a model for any writer of any type of fiction."

Luis Urrea in Denver
From The Tattered Cover Newsletter -Luis Alberto Urrea, the multiple-award winning author of Devil's Highway, Across the Wire and By the Lake of Sleeping Children, will read from and sign his new novel The Hummingbird's Daughter. A spectacular novel as grand as a western sunset and full of cowboys and outlaws, Indian warriors and cantina beauties, silly men who drink too much and desert women who in their dreams travel to the seashore, The Hummingbird's Daughter is Urrea's majestic masterpiece, the story of one girl's life and the swollen heart of all Mexico.

The Tattered Cover (Cherry Creek), June 23, 2005, 7:30 PM
Request a signed copy:

La Raza de Colorado
This info from Raymundo Eli Rojas, Editor of Pluma Fronteriza - gracias, Ray.

Special sneak previews of Rocky Mountain PBS’ newest production – an original documentary about the history of Latinos in Colorado titled La Raza de Colorado – have been scheduled for June 18 at 3 p.m., ahead of when the first episode airs on Rocky Mountain PBS. The sneak previews offer a shortened version of the two-hour, two-part documentary.

June 18 – Boulder. Sponsored by Boulder Public Library, Sun Microsystems and the Society of Latinos@Sun, El Centro Amistad and Boulder County Latina Women's League. 3 p.m., Boulder Public Library, 1000 Canyon Blvd.

La Raza de Colorado consists of two episodes. The first is La Historia and the second half of the series is El Movimiento. La Historia covers the period from the 1500s to 1940, while El Movimiento covers the 1960s and ‘70s. Rocky Mountain PBS will air La Historia on Monday, June 27, at 9 p.m. El Movimiento is under production, scheduled for a winter, 2005, release.

In creating the documentary, Rocky Mountain PBS producer Lisa Olken conducted more than 30 hours of interviews with 20 different subjects, filling up 54 videotapes. Olken and the Rocky Mountain PBS production staff also traveled throughout the state to shoot video – from the San Luis Valley to Greeley to La Junta.

The little guy in the photo up above is José de Jesús Hernández, mi suegro, and his parents.

Pluma Fronteriza and Libros, Libros
Eli Raymundo Rojas provided the info above on the Colorado raza documentary and yesterday La Bloga posted one of his reviews, Mexicans in the Midwest by Juan R. Garcia. This guy is busy. Just finished law school, writes books reviews for major newspapers, travels the country, knows chingos of writers. One of his major projects is Pluma Fronteriza and the sister publication, Libros, Libros, from which we here at La Bloga occasionally have borrowed. Anyone serious about literature needs to get on his mailing list. I just downloaded the Summer 2005 issue of Libros, Libros and it is loaded. Forty-two (42!) pages of new book after new book written by or about Latinos/as and Chicanos/as. He has categories such as Chican(a)o Letters; Chisme and Trends; Mexico and Mexican Letters; Cuban American, Cuban & Cuba; Crypto; Latino(a) Letters and Latin America, and so on. In other words, very thorough. Reading this amazing newsletter I discovered that this fall will see the publication of a book entitled Brown Gumshoes: Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicana/o Identity, by Ralph E. Rodríguez (Univ. of Texas Press). A new one on me but one I'll have to get - a couple of my favorite things to talk about over a cold Modelo Especial are Chicano detectives and the ever elusive Chicano identity. Two academic books on Chicano crime fiction in one year (the other is Chicano Detective Fiction by Susan Baker Sotelo, see the post above about Rolando Hinojosa) - my head is spinning.

To contact Raymundo Eli Rojas, send him a message at: Send books for review to Pluma Fronteriza, 1510 J Greenway Dr., Eudora, KS 66025. No website yet.


Anonymous said...

as i recall, that rodriguez book covers the same 5 writers: hinojosa, nava, anaya, corpi, and ramos. the vato didn't give you a call? or am i thinking of a different brown gumshoes book?


Manuel Ramos said...

Es lo mismo. He didn't talk with me, perhaps the others. On the publisher's website there is an excerpt from his introduction - it did grab my attention, although the publisher's claim that this is the "first" comprehensive study of Chicano detective fiction is no longer valid since Sotelo was first down the publication chute.

Ray Rojas said...

I write about is in my intro letter of our comming "Pluma Fronteriza" issue and Manuel also pointed it out.

The books description states: "In his 1985 novel Partners in Crime, writer Rolando Hinojosa introduced homicide investigator Rafe Buenrostro, the first Chicano protagonist in one of the most enduring genres of modern literature."

I'm not sure how to interpret that but if it's saying Rafe was the first Chicano protagonist in Chicano mystery fiction, its off by a few years.

"Pluma Fronteriza" did a short descriptive piece on Chicano Mystery writers a few years ago. So who is the first Chicano protagonist in Chicano mystery fiction? My guess would be one of Thomas Sanchez' characters. Or am I wrong? Help me here.

Thanks for the blurps on our latest "Libros, Libros."

Manuel Ramos said...

Sanchez published Zoot-Suit Murders in 1978, I think, and I have to admit that I haven't read it. However, my understanding, which someone should correct if I am wrong, is that the protagonist of that book is not a Chicano. Also, there are Chicano/a protagonists in crime fiction before Hinojosa, written by non-Latino authors - Rex Burns, Marcia Muller, Fredric Brown, for example. More on this topic in my essay, The Postman and The Mex, found here:

Ray Rojas said...

Yea, I seem to remember that too. I started reading "Zoot Suit Murders" a while back, but stopped for some reason. I don't think I got so far in the book to find out who the protagonist was.