Friday, January 13, 2006

Pedazos y Pedacitos

Manuel Ramos

2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award Winners
From the Gustavus Myers Center website:
"The Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, founded in 1984, was named in honor of Gustavus Myers, the pioneering historian who authored History of Bigotry in the United States, (Random House, 1943).
The annual Gustavus Myers Award, initiated by James R. Bennett, recently retired University of Arkansas professor, commends works published in a given year which extend our understanding of the root causes of bigotry and the range of options we as humans have in constructing alternative ways to share power."

The winners of the 2005 award make up an outstanding list, mostly non-fiction. You can find all the winners here.

La Bloga readers might find these award recipients especially relevant (summaries provided by the Myers Center):

Abraham Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio, The Forbidden Book: The Philippine-American War in Political Cartoons, (T'Boli Publishing, 2004). Mainstream cartoons carried the story a century ago of the intertwining of racism and empire-building in the aftermath of the Spanish-American war. This history has much relevance to the continuing story of "America as world leader."

Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross, Elena R. Gutierrez, Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, (South End Press, 2004). The authors tell how progressive women of color have long been active countering oppressive conditions, and lucidly demonstrate the spiritual and organic nature of reproductive justice.

The Honorable Mention category includes:

David Bacon, The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border, University of California Press.

Dennis Banks with Richard Erdoes, Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement, University of Oklahoma Press.

Adrian Castro, Wise Fish: Tales in 6/8 Time: Poetry, Coffee House Press.

Gerald Horne, Black and Brown: African Americans and the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920, NYU Press.

Peter Laufer, Wetback Nation: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border, Ivan R. Dee.

Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Princeton Press.

Victor M. Rodriguez, Latino Politics in the U.S.: Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in the Mexican American and Puerto Rican Experience, Kendall Hunt.

American Book Awards
Another award winner from 2005: The Horse In The Kitchen: Stories of a Mexican-American Family, Ralph M. Flores (University of New Mexico Press, 2004), won an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. These awards, established in 1978, "recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre. The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge the excellence and multicultural diversity of American writing." A list of current and past winners is posted here.

Here's what UNM Press says about this book:
"Born in 1908, two years before the start of the Mexican Revolution, Rafael lives in the village of San Cristóbal, in northern Sonora, Mexico, where his father, the village comisario, owns a bar, pool hall, and grocery store. This is a ranching town where vaqueros are heroes, and horses and bulls, as well as coyotes and rattlesnakes, provide thrills and teach lessons that Rafael and his brothers will never forget. The boy's earliest memories are of mounted revolutionaries riding through town and commandeering horses for Pancho Villa's campesino army. When his parents lose their life savings in the revolution, the family crosses the border to Arizona. Life in the north is a struggle, and young Rafael must put aside his dreams of education and work with his brothers picking lettuce wherever laborers are needed. "

UNM Press, Spring, 2006
Now that we've mentioned UNM Press, let's take a look at the Spring, 2006 catalog from that publisher.

In January, Tiempos Lejanos: Poetic Images From The Past, by Nasario García. "These poems, presented in Spanish and English, take us back to the village of Ojo del Padre, now called Guadalupe, New Mexico, in the late 1940s and 1950s, when such villages were about to leap from the preindustrial era into a postindustrial world. García able captures the landscape of his childhood, the village and its people, the birds and animals - domestic and wild, just before they are extinguished forever."

Coming in February, a new trade paperback edition of Alburquerque by Rudolfo Anaya."Alburquerque portrays a quest for knowledge. . . . [It] is a novel about many cultures intersecting at an urban, power-, and politics-filled crossroads, represented by a powerful white businessman, whose mother just happens to be a Jew who has hidden her Jewishness . . . and a boy from the barrio who fathers a child raised in the barrio but who eventually goes on to a triumphant assertion of his cross-cultural self."World Literature Today.

February also is the month of publication of a new paperback version of Hoyt Street, the classic autobiography by Mary Helen Ponce.

March brings us The Eyes of the Weaver: Los Ojos del Tejedor by Cristina Ortega, illustrated by Patricio E. García. A book for reading level 10 years and up. "Cristina Ortega is the granddaughter of Juan Melquiades Ortega, a master weaver of northern New Mexico’s Chimayó Valley. Chimayó’s roots are in early Spanish Colonial times and has long been famous for its unique weavings. Juan M. Ortega was taught to weave by his father in the early days when weavers sheared their own sheep and spun and dyed the wool for their blankets. El Tejedor (The Weaver) continued weaving until he was one hundred years old, when his eyesight failed him. In The Eyes of the Weaver, Cristina shares her memories of visits when she was ten years old with Grandpa in the village of Chimayó, where he taught her how to weave. She also recalls how Grandma helped her husband choose color combinations for his Chimayó blankets. It was during these visits that Cristina learned how important it is for a child to listen to and learn from his or her relatives."

March also marks the publication of Healing With Hebs and Rituals by Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, described as an "herbal remedy-based understanding of curanderismo and the practice of yerberas, or herbalists, as found in the American Southwest and northern Mexico."

In May the press publishes a revised edition of Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s, by Francisco E. Balderrama and Raymond Rodríguez. This book won a Gustavus Myers Award as an outstanding work on intolerance and violation of basic rights when it was originally published. The book "focuses on the experiences of individuals forced to undergo the tragic ordeal of betrayal, deprivation, and adjustment. This revised edition also addressed the inclusion of the event in the educational curriculum, the issuance of a formal apology, and the question of fiscal remuneration."

Finally, June brings Corridos in Migrant Memory by Martha I. Chew Sánchez, a book about the ballads that "express the immigrant experience: exploitation, surveillance, and dehumanization stemming from racism and classism of the host country. The corrido helps Mexican immigrants in the United States to humanize, dignify, and make sense of their transnational experiences as racial minorities."

There are, of course, many more excellent books in the catalog. Contact the press for your own copy.

Author Appearances
Lorna Dee Cervantes reads as part of the Café Cultura program at the Inner City Parish, 9th Avenue and Galapago Street, Denver, January 13 at 7:30 P.M.

Luis J. Rodriguez reads from the new and revised Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A., at Libreria Martínez, Plaza Mexico , 11221 Long Beach Blvd., #102, Lynwood, CA (310-637-9484) January 18 at 7:00 P.M.

Mario Acevedo sent a note that his Nymphos of Rocky Flats (Rayo) hits the streets in a few weeks and that his launch party is set for the Tattered Cover, LoDo (Denver) on March 23, at 7:30 P.M.

Support the writers - attend the readings, buy a book.


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