Friday, February 10, 2012

Bits & Pieces - Books/Events - Something For Everyone

A few recent books from a few "small presses" - well worth checking out.

New Books

Indigenous Quotient/Stalking Words: American Indian Heritage as Future
Juan Gómez-Quiñones
Aztlan Libre Press/November, 2011

[from the publisher]
We're very excited about the release of our new publication, Indigenous Quotient/Stalking Words: American Indian Heritage as Future, by the award-winning Chicano scholar from U.C.L.A., Juan Gómez-Quiñones. Already three schools have adopted the book as one of their texts for their Chican@ Studies/American Indian Studies courses: San Diego State University, the University of Minnesota, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico. Rodolfo Acuña, acclaimed historian and author of Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, says: "Indigenous Quotient/Stalking Words is an original, complex work that will influence future generations of scholars. Juan Gómez-Quiñones combines an excellent narrative with shrewd analysis of the construction and distortion of native American identity by Western/American scholars, and he makes a compelling case for a reexamination of Indigenous history."

The Secret of a Long
Sandra Shwayder Sánchez
Floricanto/January, 2012

[from the publisher]
The Secret of a Long Journey is the story of a cherished and dangerous secret, passed along from generation to generation through many lands and many perils: from Spain to Flanders across the ocean to Vera Cruz and up through the desert to what is now New Mexico. In magical realist style, this chronicle takes the characters through the terrors of the Inquisition, shipwrecks and hurricanes, sandstorms and wars, lost loves and illness, all culminating when Lois Gold, a passionate court advocate for the disenfranchised, discovers the legacy of her lost grandfather.

"In The Secret of a Long Journey, Sánchez moves effortlessly through time and place with a mesmerizing plot. Generations come and go and each one propels the next. Her fascinating characters are solidly grounded in vivid natural or urban environments. Whether it is 16th century Flanders or 20th century Denver, you never lose the thread of the story, thanks to the author’s mastery of craft and her powerful imagination. The characters will lodge in your mind long after you’ve read the book . . ." Gloria DeVidas Kircheimer, author: Goodbye Evil Eye, and Amalie in Orbit. .

"Set against the backdrop of Inquisitional Europe and the early history of the Spanish rule of the American southwest, The Secret of a Long Journey chronicles the lives of painters and healers, explorers and adventurers, lawyers and cowboys . . . Along the way, it sheds light on the intricate ways Sephardic Jews, Spanish, Native American, Mexican and Anglo cultures often collided, sometimes commingled, and ultimately coexisted, finding a way to transmute ancient traditions into contemporary secular justice and compassion." Mary Saracino, author of The Singing of Swans, Voices of the Soft-bellied Warrior, Finding Grace and No Matter What.

American Copia: An Immigrant Epic
Javier O. Huerta
Arte Público/March, 2012

[from the publisher]
This inventive combination of poetry, fiction and non-fiction in a mix of English and Spanish creates an epic story of immigration.

“Today I’m going to the grocery store,” begins this creative fusion of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. This is also the sentence Javier O. Huerta was given to write during his naturalization interview. Having lived in the U.S. for twenty years already, he was put off by the simplicity of the sentence.

“I wanted to tell the INS agent that I could do things with the English language that she could never imagine,” he writes in the preface.

In this innovative work that uses grocery stores as a guiding motif, he deftly combines English and Spanish to explore his identity as an immigrant, naturalized citizen, son, brother, lover, graduate student. Visits to grocery stores in the U.S. and northern Mexico lead to questions about himself. “I often wonder if I would have grown up thin had my family stayed and bought groceries in Mexico. The day we crossed the river my seven-year-old body had not an ounce of fat on it,” he remembers.

But he looks beyond his own personal circumstances as he explores the abundance of experience found in going to the grocery store. Through poetry written in Spanish, a short play, non-fiction passages and even text messages, Huerta delves into subjects such as consumerism and health foods available only to a limited class of people. The diverse pieces and themes in American Copia pulsate with all that can be both communal and autonomous in everyday life. Men take advantage of women; people protest against practices that place corporate profits above a fair wage for farmworkers; and, sometimes, people commit acts of violence.

Though Huerta touches on serious subjects, many of these short vignettes are quirky and humorous. His is an original, evocative voice that articulates the immigrant perspective to create a thought-provoking look at the land of plenty. This is a must-read for anyone interested in experimental or Mexican-American literature.

The Madness of Mamá Carlota
Graciela Limón
Arte Público/March, 2012

[from the publisher]
It’s 1852 in Cholula, Mexico, and three sisters, indigenous girls of the Chontal people, seek work at the Hacienda La Perla. They rapidly make their way from dish washers to the cook’s assistants before entering the house as servants to the wealthy Acuña family. But when the youngest sister is viciously raped by a family member, they flee the estate—after taking their revenge—only to be caught up in the historic Battle of Puebla, where native Mexicans defeat invading French troops.

Fearful that the Acuña family will not rest until the sisters are found and punished, they keep moving, ultimately finding work as servants at the National Palace in Mexico City, where the French have recently taken control. There, the sisters’ fortunes become intertwined with that of the Empress Carlota. Both beautiful and extremely intelligent, she dedicates herself to the empire, chastising Napoleon when he reneges on his promise to send troops and antagonizing the Church by proposing that the empire secularize at least part of its holdings. But her love for Mexico’s people is not reciprocated, and soon the sisters have to decide whether to stay behind without the empress’ protection or to accompany her to Europe.

Weaving the story of Mexico’s indigenous peoples with that of the tragic Belgian princess who became the wife of the Austrian Archduke Maximillian von Hapsburg, acclaimed author Graciela Limón once again explores issues of race, class and women’s rights. She skillfully crafts a gripping novel about a smart, wealthy woman who is not afraid to challenge powerful men, and re-imagines the story behind Empress Carlota’s descent into madness and eventual imprisonment in a remote European castle.


Artful Science!

From the Denver Museum of Nature & Science World Ethnology Collections storage area, get a peek into where and how the DMNS cares for rare treasures of Latino and Hispanic culture, and have the chance to speak directly with one of the Rocky Mountains' leading Chicano artists! In this unique conversation between museum scientist Dr. Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Curator of Anthropology and Chicano artist Jerry Vigil, we will explore the arts and cultures of Latin America. A particular focus will be on the historic crafts of Central and South America, and Jerry's contemporary Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) pieces, some of which are in the museum collections.

Grades 4-8
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
45 minutes. Sessions are held at 9, 10 a.m., 1 p.m.
Times listed are mountain standard time.
Cost: Participating in this electronic field trip is FREE at this time.

Registration Information:
Call Reservations at 303.370.6371, Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. or
More information and instructions to attend this electronic field trip is at:

Project Revive
Project Revive is complete! Several authors responded to a call to interview and write the stories of Boulder homeless people for a book to promote greater understanding of homelessness. Until They Have Faces: Stories of Recovery, Resilience and Redemption will be unveiled at a book launch event at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 3. Everyone is invited and urged to attend this celebration of community compassion at Cornerstone Community Center, 1190 South Lashley Lane, in Boulder, CO. Registration is $55 for individuals and includes one copy of the beautiful book plus the party--live music, hors d'oevres, fine wine, and a chance to meet all the people involved in this great project. Most important, 100% of all book sales benefit Bridge House and BOHO (Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow). Please come! To register, contact Ken Miller at .


1 comment:

Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D. said...

Prof. Juan Gómez-Quiñones represents one of the best scholars in the U.S. As one of his former students at UCLA, I am honored to call him a friend and colleague.


Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D.
UCLA Visiting Scholar,
Chicano Studies Research Center