Thursday, May 17, 2007

MARCH/Abrazo Press

This column is devoted to a hub of Chicano literary life here in Chicago. MARCH/Abrazo Press, an independent small press and publisher, has promoted literature by and about Latinos and Native Americans for nearly 30 years. It is is the publishing arm of March, Inc. also known as el Movimiento Artistico Chicano. The MARCH, Inc. organization was incorporated in Illinois in 1975 as a not-for-profit cultural arts organization.

Since its inception, MARCH/Abrazo Press has published numerous poetry books, anthologies, annotated bibliographies and analyses which feature writings by acclaimed poets such as Sandra Cisneros, Trinidad Sanchez, Carlos Cumpián, Carlos Cortez and other talented Midwestern writers.

Their goal is to promote Latino/Native American literary and visual arts expression with an emphasis on the Midwest and Chicago. Many of their books are published in a bilingual English and Spanish format in order to span many audiences.

Take a look at some of these joyas literarias and you won't be able to resist...In layman's terms, BUY THE BOOK! And make sure you read next week's review of MARCH/Abrazo Press' newest release, Book of Mornings by Raúl Niño.


Between the Heart and the Land / Entre el corazón y la tierra: Latina Poets in the Midwest Edited by Brenda Cárdenas & Johanny Vázquez Paz

"...While the literary voices of U.S. Puerto Rican poets and fiction writers and of their Chicano/a counterparts on the West Coast and in the Southwest have been anthologized, duly canonized and even mainstreamed by the Anglo literary market, very little is heard about the Latino/a writers and poets from the Midwest... Between the heart and the Land / Entre el corazón y la tierra encompasses a rich array of women of various national origins—Dominican, Cuban, Costa Rican, Bolivian, Salvadorian, Columbian, Argentinian, Mexican, Chicana, and Puerto Rican—as well as of diverse socioeconomic and work experiences, sexuality, sexual identities, age, and generational experiences…"
--- from the forward by Frances Aparicio, Ph.D. Latin American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
"Between the heart and the Land / Entre el corazón y la tierra is a poetic and bold testament of the undeniable Latina presence in the heartland of the United States." --- Ana Castillo

ISBN 1-877636-18-5

Serpent Underfoot by Frank Varela

"A Boricua poet now rooted in the Puerto Rican diaspora. These are poems that pay homage, to Crazy Willie, to the doomed Paulina, to his Korean War veteran uncle, in the language of real, lived experience. This is a poet who wants to send Willie Colon and his salsa into outer space, who tells us of forgotten African gods and the 'spics banished to Chicago' for forgetting. For his passion and his clarity, his humor and his memory, I welcome Frank Varela." --- Martín Espada, author of The Republic of Poetry
"I enjoy Varela most when he drops below street-level into the dark earth, which is something of the city's subconscious, the flip side of the urban experience. His poems about laboring with soil, rooting up growing things, are thoughtful and touching, redolent with the fragrant costs of mortality." --- Sesshu Foster, author of Angry Days
"Varela has accomplished a poet's fundamental objective: the creation of beautiful word paintings that convey personal, intimate, and yet, universal messages." --- Manuel Ramos, author of the Ballad of Rocky Ruiz

ISBN 1-877636-11-8

de KANSAS a CALIFAS & back to Chicago
by Carlos Cortez

Chicagoan Carlos Cortez was one of the U.S.A.'s leading Chicano artists and poets before his death in January 2005. In this collection of poems and scratchboard drawings by the author, Cortez shares his love and concern for the land of his mestizo and Yaqui ancestors. Cortez's art and words help us see with ''bicultural eyes" the history of the California (Califas) with a landscape alive with condors, cougars, tall saguaros, and even giant cloud formations.
Cortez's poems peak in the persona of Koyokuikatl (Coyote Song), who places his strong clear verse in defense of the natural world and its threatened inhabitants. In addition, he embodies the nostalgic traveler who is capable of "Beat" haikus or the wisdom of the Chicano working class.
If you trusted Edward Abbey not to steer you wrong, you'll be glad to know he enjoyed Cortez's ecologically and socially charged poetry--out there, west of the Mississippi.
ISBN 1-877636-09-6

Akewa is a Woman by Beatriz Badikian

"Everything is political, Beatriz said to me once and on several occasions. Love. Sorrow. Myth. Nostalgia. And the poems validate this. Badikian's poems tell stories, of Athens, Buenos Aires, Chicago. Yet the voice does not belong to any one city, any one country. Rather, Badikian admits she will write and 'name everyone/tell their story/our story.' Through this collective voice, everything in Badikian's world 'nos corresponde a todos, igualmente, socialmente, democraticamente.' Here then is a new voice that draws to it all things, little and large, with child-like charm -- sky, cloud, guitar, one lonely flute. Naive elements. Yet without blinking an eye, they tell you who and what they are fighting for. Just like that. As if to be so honest were easy."
--- Sandra Cisneros, poet and fiction writer
Out of print, facsimile available


No profile of the MARCH/Abrazo would be complete without celebrating its heart and soul, Carlos Cumpián. A veteran Chicano writer, Cumpián examines American realities absent from mainstream poetry. Although he hails from San Antonio, Texaztlan, Cumpián has planted firm roots in the Midwest.

Cumpián was named among the Chicago Public Library's "Top Ten" most requested poets and his poetry has been published by some of the country's spirited small press magazines as well as in numerous anthologies. He has taught at Columbia College in Chicago and has offered many workshops on poetry and small press management. His other books Latino Rainbow (Grolier/Children's Press) and Armadillo Charm (Tia Chucha Press) have received positive reviews for its contribution to Chicano literature.

To order books published by MARCH/Abrazo Press, go to Small Press Distribution at ; Click on "Advanced Search" and search for "March/Abrazo" under "Publishers" in the drop down search window.

For out-of-print book facsimiles, please send a check (plus $3.00 media mail shipping per order) made payable to MARCH/Abrazo Press, PO Box 2890, Chicago, IL, 60690

Lisa Alvarado

1 comment:

Linda Rodriguez said...

Bravo, Lisa! So glad to see MARCH/Abrazo get well-deserved publicity--and Carlos, as well. It's always a joy to read your columns.