Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Betabeles & Pieces / Bits & Pedazitos

michael sedano

QEPD August Wilson.


La Bloga's Daniel Olivas nearly got singed by September's fiery swan song in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. Dan, along with hundreds of his neighbors, packed only what they could drive out with, then waited the flames, or the "all clear". Scary stuff, fire. Maybe it's the Devil's vengeance for Dan's exposing la diabla's various guises and b.o. in Devil Talk. You think? For sure it's the stuff of stories and poems.

Dan's peril put me in mind of one of my favorite Latina love poems, Ina Cumpiano's "Metonymies". This is one of those "nonLatina" Latina works. proofs of birth? will have a special reverberation for some, que no? Theory aside, what a moment of truth.

From Metonymies . . . .


If the police ordered me to evacuate,

what would I take with me?

Baby pictures, computer disks, the silver,

proofs of birth? The sun

would hang like old fruit until the smoke

gathered it in. Then: night in day, sirens,

and knowing that whatever I took

would hold in its small cup

everything I had ever lost.

So if the police ordered me to evacuate during a firestorm,

I would write your name on a slip of paper,

light it, and--

in those few hurried moments allowed me--

watch it burn, brush the ashes into an envelope

which I would seal and keep with me, always.

   The Floating Borderlands, Twenty-five Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature.
Ed. Lauro Flores. Seattle: UofW Press, 1998, pp. 390-391


Daniel Olivas forwarded PALABRA's call for submissions that bend rules and cross boundaries but "Sorry, no genre work." Odd. The rule evoked an issue that La Blogans enjoyed awhile back in our consideration of "ghettoization" of the chicano literary genre. Will chicano literature be confined to certain literary corners, always excluded from attention in the broader market for writers and stories in the $2.6 billion book market? Curiously irritated, I asked the editors, who say,
the intent of PALABRA is to publish the kind of literary writing that will not, in all likelihood, be published by trade or even mainstream literary publishers. Genre is cool, though. We like it. It's simply that genre, i.e., mystery novels, crime thrillers, spy novels, romance novels, science fiction, etc., isn't what we intend. Gracias. -- The Editors

Their specialization got me wondering. How many thousands of titles, literary or genre work, get published annually? How many published writers each year could, in all likelihood, be Chicana Chicano writers of any ilk, literary or genre? Despite breakout titles here and there--People of Paper for example--the booklists suggest we're confined into a pretty tight corner. Is "confined" the right word?


I was happy to read about the steady growth of US publishing:

Net sales for the entire United States publishing industry are estimated to have increased by 1.3 percent from 2003 to 2004 to a grand total of $23.72 billion, according to figures just released by the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Overall, trade sales rose 1.9 percent, with sales of $5.16 billion. Adult trade hardbound gained 6.3 percent ($2.61 billion), while paperbound sales were also up 2.8 percent ($1.51 billion). Juvenile hardbound sales were down 16.7 percent ($581 million),

Sadly, 2003 came and went and I hadn't realized it was the year of Latino publishing, as declared by the Association of American Publishers:

Adriana Lopez, the initiative's spokesperson and editor of Criticas, a magazine that focuses on the Latino market for books, said, "It's an amazing time for Latino publishing in both English and Spanish for U.S. readers. I'm thrilled to be part of AAP's timely efforts in 2003 to bring this rapidly expanding market to the mainstream's attention."

I hope it worked.


I recently put up a sentimental photo essay recounting time I spent on an air defense artillery site. Serendipity. Back when La Bloga was a few weeks old, I mentioned the name of a Drill Sergeant and his favorite exercises, including "Position of a Dying Cockroach". I was delighted to get an email from his son, also an NCO. His dad survived Vietnam and an Army career and now lives in jubilacion in Tucson.


      That's Dolores Gonzales Haro's cover featured on a Chicanarte calendar that's hitting the streets next month. Writing the introduction and editing artist biographies has been great fun. Floricanto Press is bringing it out, so look for it in your local bookstore. If you don't see it in your local bookstore or stationers, tell the buyer about access and the growing Latina Latino market, and 2003, and genre lit, and tempus fugit.

Michael Sedano

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your post es un suave glide of Dan Olivas's almost having to forward his mail into este poema.

You Bloguistas seem to have found tu voz y suena bien chido.