Accessible Citizenships examines Chicana/o cultural representations that conceptualize political community through images of disability. Working against the assumption that disability is a metaphor for social decay or political crisis, Julie Avril Minich analyzes literature, film, and visual art post-1980 in which representations of non-normative bodies work to expand our understanding of what it means to belong to a political community.
Minich shows how queer writers like Arturo Islas and Cherríe Moraga have reconceptualized Chicano nationalism through disability images. She further addresses how the U.S.-Mexico border and disabled bodies restrict freedom and movement. Finally, she confronts the changing role of the nation-state in the face of neoliberalism as depicted in novels by Ana Castillo and Cecile Pineda.
Accessible Citizenships illustrates how these works gesture towards less exclusionary forms of citizenship and nationalism. Minich boldly argues that the corporeal images used to depict national belonging have important consequences for how the rights and benefits of citizenship are understood and distributed.
The Accidental: Poems
Gina Franco University of Arkansas Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3606.R375A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Cascading through each of the poems in Gina Franco’s The Accidental is a question: What does it mean to be human in a world where the soul is exalted but the body brutalized? Franco explores the terrain of the borderlands—not just the physical space of the American southwest, but the spaces where lines are drawn between body and soul, God and self, violence and ecstasy. Unfolding along these borders in a torrent of deep contemplation, Franco’s poems bring the reader to the line between accident and choice, delving into the role each plays in creating the lives we are born into and in determining how those lives end. A body caught in a tree after a flood—an accident—calls to mind deliberate violences: crucifixion and lynching.
Guided, even so, by a stark hopefulness, The Accidental makes a character of the soul and traces its pilgrimage from suffering toward transcendence. “The soul saw,” Franco writes, “that it saw through the wound.” This book tenders a creation myth steeped in existential philosophy and shimmering with the vernacular of the ecstatic.
Acoustic Properties: Radio, Narrative, and the New Neighborhood of the Americas discovers the prehistory of wireless culture. It examines both the coevolution of radio and the novel in Argentina, Cuba, and the United States from the early 1930s to the late 1960s, and the various populist political climates in which the emerging medium of radio became the chosen means to produce the voice of the people.
Based on original archival research in Buenos Aires, Havana, Paris, and the United States, the book develops a literary media theory that understands sound as a transmedial phenomenon and radio as a transnational medium. Analyzing the construction of new social and political relations in the wake of the United States’ 1930s Good Neighbor Policy, Acoustic Properties challenges standard narratives of hemispheric influence through new readings of Richard Wright’s cinematic work in Argentina, Severo Sarduy’s radio plays in France, and novels by John Dos Passos, Manuel Puig, Raymond Chandler, and Carson McCullers. Alongside these writers, the book also explores Che Guevara and Fidel Castro’s Radio Rebelde, FDR’s fireside chats, Félix Caignet’s invention of the radionovela in Cuba, Evita Perón’s populist melodramas in Argentina, Orson Welles’s experimental New Deal radio, Cuban and U.S. “radio wars,” and the 1960s African American activist Robert F. Williams’s proto–black power Radio Free Dixie.
From the doldrums of the Great Depression to the tumult of the Cuban Revolution, Acoustic Properties illuminates how novelists in the radio age converted writing into a practice of listening, transforming realism as they struggled to channel and shape popular power.
Pat Mora University of Arizona Press, 2006 Library of Congress PS3563.O73A66 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Wine-sipping syllables, a communion of bones, impetuous pinches of chile, and parrot-sassy guacamole. With a mélange of aromas and tastes, colors and sounds, award-winning poet Pat Mora invites readers into her home in this new collection of forty-nine odes. Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odas Elemantales and reinvented with a Latina identity, Mora celebrates the ordinary in lyrics that are anything but. Her poetry is the poetry of space—house patterns and adobe constructions—and the human rhythms that happen inside. It is also the poetry of what she loves—chocolate, books, dandelions, church bells, hope, courage, and even rain. Thick with the microcultures of foodstuffs, family, places, regions, deities, spirits, and literary figures, Mora’s adobe universe is luscious and tactile, elemental and dynamic.
From family gossip and beauty secrets, to women darning hand-me-downs, to reluctant hands carrying bodies across borders, Mora traverses the tangled threads of culture, community, family, gender, and injustice. Her vivid observations together with her deft handling of symmetry and meter make her poetry uniquely insightful, subtle, and elegant. Sprinkled with Spanish and plenty of spice, each ode is a sensory flurry of mind and body. Together they make a cauldron of flavorful, simmering language. They are meant to be savored as they slowly stir the soul.
In their debut picture book, Frederick Luis Aldama and Chris Escobar invite young readers along on the adventures of Chupacabra Charlie, a polite, handsome, and unusually tall ten-year-old chupacabra yearning for adventure beyond the edge of los Estados Unidos. Little does Charlie know when he befriends a young human, Lupe, that together, with only some leftover bacon quesadillas and a few cans of Jumex, they might just encounter more adventure than they can handle. Along the way, they meet strange people and terrifying danger, and their bravery will be put to the test. Thankfully, Charlie is a reassuring and winsome companion who never doubts that he and Lupe will return safely home.
With magical realism, allegory, and gentle humor, Aldama and Escobar have created a story that will resonate with young and old readers alike as it incorporates folklore into its subtle take on the current humanitarian crisis at the border.
A novel told in short stories, The Affliction is an astounding fiction debut by an award-winning poet full of memorable characters across America and the Caribbean. Young beautifully weaves together the elaborate stories of many while holding together a clear focus: people are not always as they seem.
After the Bombs
Arturo Arias Northwestern University Press, 1990 Library of Congress PQ7499.2.A73D4713 1990
After the Bombs is a coming of age story that holds a mirror up to the modern history of Guatemala—a funhouse mirror of richly inventive and farcical black comedy which provides a better description of life in that country than any history book ever could. It opens with the bombing of Guatemala City in 1954 when the hero, Max, is a small child. In a swiftly moving narrative, Max journeys toward adulthood, searching for his identity, for his father, and along the way, for the real Guatemala and the possibility of a society founded on human decency, after the bombs.
Agua Santa / Holy Water
Pat Mora University of Arizona Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3563.O73A72 2007 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Drawing on oral and lyrical traditions, this book honors the grace and spirit of mothers, daughters, lovers, and goddesses. From a tribute to Frida Kahlo to advice from an Aztec goddess, the poems explore the intimate and sacred spaces of borderlands through many voices: a revolutionary, a domestic worker, a widow.
Don Morales tells stories. He tells lots of stories. About Chimbote, the Peruvian town where he lives. About fishing, the lifeblood of the town. And about change, which is not always the same as progress. Stories about the first people to inhabit the region and stories about the people who live there now. Stories about the early people’s love of the land and more recent people’s destruction of it. Stories about how people used to get along with one another and stories about how things got to be so bad that the government began to murder its own citizens.
Don Morales is a wise man. But he is also a sad man, mourning the loss of the past, of better times, of brotherhood. With his short, evocative stories—told with simplicity and beauty—he pulls his readers closer to him, as if he were speaking directly to us. For the good fishermen of Tancay, life was better yesterday than it is today. It was better to live in harmony with the sea. When they lived in harmony with the natural world, there was harmony in the human world, too.
With a nostalgic feel, yet reflecting Peru’s current political instability, this is a delightful book with an important message. When the natural order is disrupted, it is not only fish that die. When nature dies, so might we all.
All They Will Call You
Tim Z. Hernandez University of Arizona Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3608.E768A78 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
All They Will Call You is the harrowing account of “the worst airplane disaster in California’s history,” which claimed the lives of thirty-two passengers, including twenty-eight Mexican citizens—farmworkers who were being deported by the U.S. government. Outraged that media reports omitted only the names of the Mexican passengers, American folk icon Woody Guthrie penned a poem that went on to become one of the most important protest songs of the twentieth century, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).” It was an attempt to restore the dignity of the anonymous lives whose unidentified remains were buried in an unmarked mass grave in California’s Central Valley. For nearly seven decades, the song’s message would be carried on by the greatest artists of our time, including Pete Seeger, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, yet the question posed in Guthrie’s lyrics, “Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?” would remain unanswered—until now.
Combining years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, award-winning author Tim Z. Hernandez weaves a captivating narrative from testimony, historical records, and eyewitness accounts, reconstructing the incident and the lives behind the legendary song. This singularly original account pushes narrative boundaries, while challenging perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in America, but more importantly, it renders intimate portraits of the individual souls who, despite social status, race, or nationality, shared a common fate one frigid morning in January 1948.
Along These Highways
Rene S. Perez II University of Arizona Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3616.E74346A79 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Rene Perez has the ability to stop time. In fact, time stops as soon as you start reading one of his short stories. You find yourself transported into the minds and lives of people you thought you didn't know. Suddenly they are your best friends. They live in Texas. Most of them are Hispanic. But their problems are universal.
Like Alfredo, driving home from Dallas to Greenton with the body of his friend "Frankie" Ochoa in the back of his hearse and his son Ramon ready to drive if Alfredo's eyesight fails again.
Or Joey, just back from basic training and ready to ship out with his Marine platoon. He's having beers with his best friend J.R. at Flojo's, a bar outside of Greenton run by Liz and Vicente, "the toughest couple in town."
Or Benny, who drops into Flojo's for the first time in years and finds his one-time friend Gumby drinking himself into oblivion. Turns out Gumby's luck is even worse than Benny's.
Or Virginia, the schoolteacher who's trying to become better educated in the hope that her son who went to Stanford will come back home to Corpus Christi. Or Eric, who spent all his money on two flashy wheels for his car and put them both on the passenger side so that they'll impress everyone on the sidewalk as he passes. Or Andy, who breaks into a home he's always wanted to see from the inside.
You'll want to know them all. And you will count yourself fortunate to have met them.
“The Americas, Otherwise” explores the growing influence of the study of the Americas—variously referred to as Americas Studies, Transamerican Studies, Hemispheric Studies, and Interamerican Studies—on the field of comparative literature. The essays in this special issue suggest the centrality of comparative studies of the Americas to the revision of the discipline as a whole, as well as to intellectual practice in other disciplines.
These essays foreground the work of important hemispheric writers, artists, and public intellectuals such as Roberto Bolaño, Alejo Carpentier, Aimé Césaire, Gabriel García Márquez, Édouard Glissant, José Martí, Ricardo Piglia, and Leopoldo Zea. Topics include migration to the Americas from Asia, Europe, and Africa; hemispheric exceptionalisms since the establishment of the first colonies; the interdisciplinary foundations of border studies; theories of the neobaroque and their application to Latin American cultural formations; Latino critical theory; and the emergence of a southern theory inclusive of the intellectual work of often-marginalized cultures.
Edwin Torres University of Arizona Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3570.O696A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In this vibrant reflection of sound and word, poet Edwin Torres reignites the possibilities of poetry. From poems like “Me No Habla Spic,” a rumination of life’s major moments, to “Fixative,” which exercises shifting vantage points, Torres is nimble—surfing through memory, definition, and forms of social address. In this new collection, Torres offers some signature performance pieces for the first time in print.
Ameriscopia reimagines New York City and its expansive inspirations, which for Torres capture the contradictions of America. Allusions to the Twin Towers, Coney Island hot dogs, and the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe continuously recolor the pages. But even as he makes these iconic references, Torres allows his poems to invert and refract the identities they evoke—New-Yorker-American-Latino-Dad-Performer-Boy-Writer—to invigorate poetry out of its slumber into a deep cultural urgency. Torres’s kaleidoscopic vision is borne of decades of poetic experimentation. Audiences have delighted in his spontaneous mashups of disparate topic matters; writers have studied his skilled technique at synthesizing—for example, from a mundane curbside view to an imagined conversation with artists Marcel Duchamp and Yves Tanguy.
Torres writes, “I discovered that, this world uncovered / is like the soul / of The Puerto Rican man — occupied / by the weight of his balance.” Ameriscopia is Torres’s statement on growing up and the inspirational facets that accompany his journey into fatherhood. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Torres’s poetry taps into rhythms both distinctive and dynamic. In Ameriscopia Torres is at full force, a poet in control, a writer emboldened by the page—in flight.
Through earthy, charming stories that blend songs, letters, and prayers, Patricia Preciado Martin explores the hidden places of the soul and the human longing for amor eterno, eternal love. Forbidden love, enchanted love, and desperate love are just some of the varieties of love that get mixed into this sweet concoction of romance, wit, and instruction. A delicious combination of modern sensibility and folk wisdom—including recipes for fresh breath and special prayers to Saint Valentine—this book tells universal tales of devotion and desire.
Angelitos: A Graphic Novel
Ilan Stavans and Santiago Cohen The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PN6727.S677A83 2018 | Dewey Decimal 741.5973
From internationally renowned Ilan Stavans, in collaboration with award-winning illustrator Santiago Cohen, comes Angelitos: A Graphic Novel, an explosive new graphic novel about a college student and his interactions with Padre Chinchachoma, a charismatic Catholic priest who devotes himself to rescuing homeless children in Mexico. Though his work gives hope to the desperate masses of children on the streets of Mexico City, his efforts interfere with and infuriate the police—with dire consequences. Set in a deeply classist society and against the backdrop of the tragic destruction of the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, the core of the story also revolves around the student’s fear that Padre Chincha might be sexually abusing the children he rescues, at a time and place when such actions went unchecked by the Catholic Church.
Though Angelitos: A Graphic Novel is a fictional retelling of a desperate time, it draws on autobiographical elements to tell the real-life story of Alejandro García Durán de Lara, popularly known as Padre Chinchachoma, a complicated figure revered by some and reviled by others.
When Catholics in the Southwest ask God or a saint for help, many of them do not merely pray. They also promise or present a gift—a tiny metal object known as a milagro. A milagro, which means "miracle" in Spanish, depicts the object for which a miracle is sought, such as a crippled leg or a new house. Milagros are offered for everything people pray for, and so they can represent almost anything imaginable—arms, lungs, hearts, and eyes; men, women, and children; animals, cars, boats—even lost handbags and imprisoned men.
In Answered Prayers, the Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Tohono O'odham, and Yaquis who practice this tradition share their stories of unwavering faith and divine intervention. Anthropologist and photographer Eileen Oktavec has spent more than two decades documenting this fascinating tradition in the Arizona-Mexico borderlands. Quoting extensive interviews, she explains the beliefs of the people who perform this ancient folk ritual and the many rules guiding this practice. She also describes the many places where milagros are offered—from the elaborate Mexican baroque Mission San Xavier near Tucson, Arizona, to tiny household shrines and hospitals on both sides of the border. Oktavec also explains how milagros are made, where they are bought, and how they are used in jewelry, sculpture, and art.
Art Is Everything: A Novel
Yxta Maya Murray Northwestern University Press, 2020 Library of Congress PS3563.U832A89 2021 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In her funny, idiosyncratic, and propulsive new novel, Art Is Everything, Yxta Maya Murray offers us a portrait of a Chicana artist as a woman on the margins. L.A. native Amanda Ruiz is a successful performance artist who is madly in love with her girlfriend, a wealthy and pragmatic actuary named Xochitl. Everything seems under control: Amanda’s grumpy father is living peacefully in Koreatown; Amanda is about to enjoy a residency at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, once she gets her NEA, she’s going to film a groundbreaking autocritical documentary in Mexico.
But then everything starts to fall apart when Xochitl’s biological clock begins beeping, Amanda’s father dies, and she endures a sexual assault. What happens to an artist when her emotional support vanishes along with her feelings of safety and her finances? Written as a series of web posts, Instagram essays, Snapchat freakouts, rejected Yelp reviews, Facebook screeds, and SmugMug streams-of-consciousness that merge volcanic confession with eagle-eyed art criticism, Art Is Everything shows us the painful but joyous development of a mid-career artist whose world implodes just as she has a breakthrough.
Ashes of Izalco
Claribel Alegría and Darwin J. Flakoll Northwestern University Press, 1989 Library of Congress MLCS 90/06098 (P)
Written in two voices, Ashes of Izalco is a collaborative novel by Claribel Alegría and Darwin Flakoll, a love story set against the events of 1932, when thirty thousand Indians and peasants were massacred in Izalco, El Salvador. Ashes of Izalco brings together a Salvadoran woman and an American man who struggle over issues of love, loyalty, and sociopolitical injustice.