Friday, February 26, 2010

Bits from the Web

A few literary bits and pieces available with a quick click of your mouse:

A recent announcement noted that Professor Laura Lomas won the 2009 Modern Language Association Prize in U.S. Latina and Latino Literary and Cultural Studies. Lomas is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark. The award was made for her book, Translating Empire (Duke University Press, 2008), in which she analyzes how late 19th century Latino migrant writers developed a critique of U.S. imperialism through their translations of American literature. Translating Empire is about the Cuban journalist, poet, and revolutionary José Martí and other Latino migrants living in New York City in the Gilded Age, who translated contemporary North American literary and cultural texts into Spanish. Read more about Lomas and her book here ...


Francisco Lomelí's tribute to Luis Leal can be found at this link to the Santa Barbara Independent. A few lines from the article:

He is generally regarded as one of the founding members of contemporary Chicano literary movement. His fame is such that many in his multiple fields refer to him as “el maestro de maestros” (the teacher of teachers) for directly mentoring generations of students, teachers, and scholars. His students regarded him as a walking encyclopedia with a prodigious memory, even at times providing exact pages of works where specific topics could be located. His life reached a crescendo with his l00th birthday in 2007 with a dual conference at UCSB and Mexico City dedicated to him along with a book (100 años de lealtad/100 Years of Loyalty; In Honor of Luis Leal) that consisted of over one hundred contributors and 1,456 pages: a monumental work for a scholar who has touched so many lives with his erudition, generosity, encouragement, example, and humor.

More tributes to Professor Leal can be read at this link.

La Bloga pal Mario Acevedo is ready to launch his latest Felix Gomez romp. This one's entitled Werewolf Smackdown.

Mario's website gives us this:

puts undead PI Felix Gomez right in the middle of a supernatural battle for power, one that will wake the ghosts of Charleston and could destroy both human and undead if he’s not careful. A civil war is brewing between rival werewolf factions and Gomez will do anything he can to ensure this conflict doesn’t turn into an all out battle that will make the supernatural underworld explode. But between that, the sudden reappearance of an ex-girlfriend, and several other vampires trying to take off his head, this is one rumble even a vampire detective may not be able to handle. Download and read Chapter One.

Mario's schedule of events is also on his website, including Denver area bookstore appearances beginning in March. And if that's not enough, Mario's Glenn Beck video parody (a trailer for his books), is here.


A Chicano Literature class from Cerritos College (Norwalk, CA) recently made a field trip to the home of the well-known writer Victor Villaseñor. Because of budget issues, the class had to take back an invite to Villaseñor to visit their campus. The writer then invited the class to his home, and in place of an honorarium, he asked the students to do a bit of work at his ranch in Oceanside. The students beat dead needles out of pine trees, fed goats, and a few other chores. The author entertained and regaled ... check out the article from the college newspaper.


I found an article from the L.A. Times that announced the finalists for the Pen/Faulkner awards:

The five PEN/Faulkner Award finalists have been announced, and it's an interesting mix. ... The nominated books are The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, Homicide Survivors Picnic by Lorraine M. López, War Dances by Sherman Alexie, Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead and A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.

One finalist, Kingsolver, has been a bestseller, with her 1998 novel "The Poisonwood Bible." Two others -- Moore and Alexie -- appear regularly in the pages of the New Yorker. Whitehead is the recipient of a prestigious MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. They're all high-profile writers, more so than López, a Vanderbilt University professor who hails from LA. López has quietly racked up smaller awards, and her book was published by a small press, BkMk, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

López talked about the multicultural aspect of the stories that appear in "Homicide Survivors Picnic" in an interview on the BkMk Press website.

And here's a quote from the interview:

The thing is, though, that I write for myself, and I write the kind of books and stories that I like best.
And I am not out to give anyone (including myself) what he or she might be expecting. In speaking to
other Latino writers, I find that we similarly resist gratifying expectations that our characters perform in
culturally expected ways, say, rolling tortillas, bopping around the barrio, or gathering wisdom from a sweet abuela. More and more, Latino literature is evolving away from such stereotypes, and becoming more interesting and challenging in the process.

You can read the complete interview here. La Bloga's review of Homicide Survivors Picnic is here.


Finally, an announcement about a conference underway now at the University of New Mexico:

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Chicano Hispano Mexicano Studies, Southwest Hispanic Research Institute, Latin American and Iberian Institute, Foreign Languages and Literatures, American Studies, and the Department of Student Affairs will co-host the 16th annual UNM Conference on Ibero-American Culture and Society, “Moros, Moriscos, Marranos y Mestizos: Alterity, Hybridity Identity in Diaspora.”

The conference will be held on Feb. 25 through Feb. 27. On Thursday, the event will be held in the Student Union Building, Acoma, Isleta and Sandía rooms. On Friday, it will move to the National Hispanic Resource Center. On Saturday, participants have the option of touring the Santa Fe Museum.

“Moros, Moriscos, Marranos y Mestizos” seeks to recognize and remember the 400th anniversary of the removal of 300,000 Spanish Christians (Moriscos) and the largest ethnic cleansing to take place in Western Europe until the twentieth century.

“We are considering historic and contemporary texts, traditions, and expressive culture from Moorish, Jewish, Christian and Native American encounters in Iberia and the Americas,” said Enrique Lamadrid, the director of Chicano Hispano Mexicano Studies.

The rest of the announcement can be found here.

That's it for another week in Blogaland. Later.


msedano said...

i get a kick out of the profe's comment on the villaseñor visit, "i don't what the students to work again". what a provocative stance.

Lourdes said...

No kidding about the professor's comments about the students working. What does he/they think they'll be doing when they graduate from college? Plus what of the discipline and responsibility that work on a ranch could probably teach these students. Yes, it would be nice not to have to have to work, but it also has its teaching points. It's probably what taught Villasenor the discipline and focus (not to mention persistence) needed to become a published writer.

Fay Sheco said...

Want to make sure you see this one.

"English playwright David Hare has selected blu by Virginia Grise as the 2010 winner of the annual Yale Drama Series competition.

Hare: "The winning play blu is about the response of a Mexican American family to the loss of their oldest son in Iraq. Virginia Grise's writing is blazingly talented and resonant and the play stays with you long after you've read it."

Broadway World