Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Poseurs in NY Editorial Suites

Limpia Contra Mugre Americana

Michael Sedano

Five New York publishing houses bid on the book, the mugre that says its name. One million dollars reflected an editor's confidence in the author. Four editors walked away empty-handed. I bet those four are thanking their lucky stars right now, and the winner has severe buyer's remorse.

Published and Banned in the United States.
Librotraficante smuggles books to children in Tucson.
Decisions have consequences and those five anxious bidders all need to be fired for cause. They're frauds.

Those editors and their entire staffs aren't earning their keep. They're the publishing industry's experts on United States literature, thus our culture's gatekeepers. Yet, it's painfully obvious these gatekeepers do not have a professional grasp on the field of Literature. They don't know who's out there being kept out.

If they knew, they would have given that money to someone who knew what she was doing. They could have produced the same book but it would have met a higher standard of quality. But that book, it has been done.

The Great "American" Immigration Novel was written by... At this point, the beseiged editors and staffs will be defenseless to contest any name to fill the ellipsis. NY Editors pose as literary experts but clearly they do not know the field. And the people they hire don't know what they're doing. Their literary compass has excluded an entire culture's writing, and they don't know it.

It's not their fault. They graduate from east coast prep schools, go to Seven Sisters or Ivy League colleges, and know British Literature and its descendants over here. Their 3 unit course on "world literatures" may constitute their sole exposure to the non-Western canon.  (Insert outrage at stereotypy. ¿Ves?) And they really don't have to work but they love books.

Until the publishing corporations bring in help who come with professional-level knowledge of United States Literature, raza and other readers will have to help the hapless staffs wipe the egg off their faces. 

Chicano author David Bowles(link) has una limpia contra mugre to perform in public. Trucha! Sabes que? the prospect of raza demanding dignidad literaria already led Flatiron press to cancel a La Jolla reading out of "safety concerns". 

An individual can take this action: pick up a good book by a Chicana Chicano writer, any raza writer, read it again and give it to a friend. If everyone did this, given the 3-degrees of separation rule, those beknighted NY editors and staffs will be flooded with books by raza writers in 29 days. Maybe 30.

Here are five titles illustrative of the immense breadth of raza literary production. If one were to compile a list of the Top 100 U.S. 20th Century Novels, these five would have their place:

Graciela Limon. Memories of Ana Calderon.
Benjamin Saenz. Carry Me Like Water.
Alfredo Vea. Gods Go Begging.
Alicia Gaspar de Alba. Sor Juana's Second Dream.
Ana Castillo. Peel My Love Like an Onion.

The Great "American" Immigration Novel is a memoir, A Dream Called Home. Reyna Grande, its author, joins the author of American Dirt, in conversation at the LA Times book club March 11. A ver.

#DignidadLiteraria: From David Bowles

Thanks to your passion, brilliance & drive, the US is beginning to see Latinxs differently, given our indignity in the wake of the unfortunate publication & marketing of #AmericanDirt.

We made our point--now we should pivot to something far more important than a single white woman who stole our stories: US, our voices, our power, our beauty, our historias, and our dignidad.

We call on Latinx writers, artists, & rebels to join us in staging actions this coming week: inspired, angry, beautiful actions that will draw the nation’s attention to a community of 60 million left off of bookshelves & out of the national dialogue, a community targeted because the humanity of our stories is still being muted.


We ask you to organize actions in the streets and online under the banner of our DIGNIDAD.


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