Friday, May 26, 2006

Nuevo y Viejo

Manuel Ramos

UNM Press Fall Releases
Words & Music Literary Conference
Carlos Fuentes
Los Jornaleros Del Norte

Yeah, I know, Summer hasn't even started yet - although you might get an argument in Denver about that; talk about a hot May - but we here at La Bloga are already getting some Autumn literary news:

UNM Fall Releases
UNM Press is one of our favorite presses - that small group of university folks just keeps on providing the Chicano Lit product. The Fall lineup includes (quotes from UNM Press website):

Hecho En Tejas: An Anthology of Texas-Mexican Literature, edited by Dagoberto Gilb: "Hecho en Tejas is a historic anthology that establishes the canon of Mexican American literature in Texas. With close to one hundred selections chosen, the book reaches back to the sixteenth-century exploration narrative of Texas's first Spanish-speaking writer, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca. It features prose by Américo Paredes and Jovita Gonzalez, Rolando Hinojosa and Tomás Rivera, Estela Trambley Portillo, and Sandra Cisneros. Among the poets included in the anthology are Ricardo Sánchez, Carmen Tafolla, Angela de Hoyos, and Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado. Hecho en Tejas also includes corridos from the turn of the century and verses sung by music legends such as Lydia Mendoza and Santiago Jimenez, Sr., Freddy Fender, and Selena. In addition to these established names, already known across the United States, Hecho en Tejas introduces such younger writers as Christine Granados, Erasmo Guerra, and Tonantzin Canestaro-Garcia, the famous Tejano authors of tomorrow." Now that sounds good, doesn't it? One of those younger writers is related to La Bloga's own RudyG, but in case she's not ready to admit that yet, let's just say that she is a kick-ass Chicana poet everyone knows as Tonzi.

Big Dreams and Dark Secrets in Chimayó, G. Benito Córdova: "Big Dreams and Dark Secrets in Chimayó is a mythological saga about Flaco Salvador Cascabel Natividad, a native of Chimayó, New Mexico, and an alcoholic. Benito Córdova follows Salvador through situations and encounters that expose his vulnerabilities in light of his community's expectations and standards of masculinity. At various times Salvador is an employee at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a patient at the Embudo Rehabilitation Center, and a contracted worker for Abiquiu artist Georgia O'Keeffe. ... At a significant moment in the story, Salvador is hauling wood in a snowstorm from the nearby mountains when he is pinned by a falling tree. Night is approaching, it is getting colder, and, as Salvador lies trapped under the tree, he begins to envision his own death, funeral, and burial in terms of how he has lived his life. He sees the failure of his marriage, which ended shortly after it began in an alcohol haze, and he is tortured by his personal demons concerning his identity as a Génizaro, a Hispanicized Indian. Salvador's story is a blend of humor and tragedy that exemplifies today's rural New Mexico."

Curse of the ChupaCabra, Rudolfo Anaya: "When Professor Rosa Medina began to research the folklore of the ChupaCabra, she never expected to tangle face-to-face with the monster. Rosa journeys to Mexico to examine a ChupaCabra incident. The creature has killed a campesino in the jungle. And the drug traffickers who have captured the ChupaCabra also control a large drug shipment destined for Los Angeles. The monster is set loose on the streets; so is the meth that is destroying the brains of the young and vulnerable. This fast-paced story moves from Mexico to Los Angeles to New Mexico. Danger lurks at every corner as Rosa fights to protect her students from the forces of evil. Written for young adults, the story has a universal message. Only Rudolfo Anaya can combine the excitement of a thriller and the wisdom of traditional healings to create a page-turner that has lessons to teach us all."

Mary Helen Lagasse, author of The Fifth Sun (winner of the Premio Aztlán), sends a message that the Words & Music Literary Conference is set for November in New Orleans. This conference was a victim of Hurricane Katrina last year but it returns in 2006 and, the best part, Mary Helen says that "the theme is LATINO - Hispanic authors, works, lecturers, etc." She promises to send us more details as they are finalized. I can see myself at this New Orleans shindig - a combination of two of my favorites, Latino Literature and muffalettas. Híjole.

Noted Mexican author Carlos Fuentes was one of four international personalities recently honored in the Netherlands as recipients of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms medal. The award pays tribute to those who have promoted the freedoms of speech and worship and freedoms from fear and want. In accepting the award, Fuentes said, "A free society cannot confront, much less defeat, its enemies if it renounces the values of freedom, mistakenly believing that by imitating the enemy's ruthlessness we will win." Fuentes's most recent novel translated into English, The Eagle's Throne, got a rave review from Terrence Rafferty in the New York Times. Rafferty called the novel "smashing," "the most wickedly entertaining novel of Fuentes's career," and a "brilliant political novel." The review also quotes Fuentes - "Politics can be dogmatic. The novel can only be enigmatic." So simply stated, so difficult to achieve. Fuentes also is a headliner at the Guardian Hay Festival in Wales, May 26 - June 6, which this year features several Spanish-speaking authors including Carmen Posadas, Rafael Reig and Jorge Franco.

Los Jornaleros del Norte, an L.A. band of day laborers (as all their publicity mentions), sing about immigrant life in the good ole U.S.A., "where to stand on a street corner is to be invisible." Los Jornaleros are the Teatro Campesino of the new movement, and they bring their brand of "protest music" (and good dancing music, too) to Denver to help El Centro Humanitario Para Los Trabajadores celebrate it's fourth anniversary as the only humanitation day labor center in Denver, as well as the American Friends Service Center's Public Gathering. Share in the short awards program and then the dancing at the Walnut Factory, 3002 Walnut, Denver (303-623-3464 x. 1) on June 9th at 6:30 P.M.

The cacti in the photos sit along the side of my house. Here in Colorado I can enjoy the blooming succulents in my yard or stare off to the west at the snow-covered mountains, while dark, massive rain clouds roll in from the east. Now I'm off to look for CDs of Los Jornaleros and the Dixie Chicks.



Anonymous said...

Uncle Rudy loves to sing the praises of his niece Tonzi.

You can go to her site at
but only use Explorer or you won't get all the buttons.

Turn your volume up and click on Words Spoken.

Sedano did a powerful piece on her that's worth checking out, archived as


msedano said...

i'd love to see tonzi again, see where her work is taking her. maybe it was one of our la bloga bloguero posts, someone had a poem recently about chess and chess masters that put me in mind of tonzi's chess poems.

hey, manuel, what's with all those white spots on your images, is that the cochineal insect or something else?

speaking of fotos, check these out, gente:

Manuel Ramos said...

Sedano - I think you mean espinas, guy. Other than those, I don't see no white spots, except those I always see, photos or not. Course, I'm not really a photographer, either. Could not open your photos, my computer's way slow.