Author Archive

Half the World More: Juan Felipe Herrera and the Centering of Chicana/o Letters

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Juan Felipe Herrera being named our 21st U.S. Poet Laureate is special for a few reasons.  He is the first Latino U.S. Poet Laureate in history, but also an unlikely if necessary one.  It’s no obscure fact that his writing has historically been underappreciated, undercelebrated even. Herrera’s writing has

Goliath: Reading Kyle Dargan’s “Honest Engine” During the Baltimore Riots

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I read Kyle Dargan’s poem “Goliath” the night of the Baltimore riots. I was in Mexico City where the images of the riots made it to the Mexican presses before the story did—Freddie Gray, the police beatings, his snapped spinal cord. The details simply hadn’t been translated yet. But the

Conquistador: A Tiny Interview with Rafael Acosta

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It’s no secret that Mexican letters are making a comeback. Though it should be said Mexican writers have never left the building. They’ve been around: working, translating, publishing in plain sight as the rest of the western world goes on lamenting boom writer after boom writer’s death. In the

Diverse Writers Break the Internet: Ask HBO How Many

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If you were on Twitter at all on March 4th, you were probably mildly (if not completely) aware of the public nightmare that was the HBO Access Writing Fellowship application. Full disclosure: I didn’t apply although I know many writers who did. And for those not familiar with the fellowship, it is

The Millennial-Gen X Rift Part II: the MFA System And A Digital Latina/o Literary Renaissance

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Hector Tobar wouldn’t be the first to speculate about a contemporary Latina/o literary renaissance. That hype has been around for a long, long while. It surrounded the work of Gen X Latina/o writers beginning to publish in the mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s of which Junot Diaz

The Millenial-Gen X Rift And The Trouble With Latina/o Letters

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 “Hector Tobar is our new hero,” a close friend of mine, a well known Chicano writer, proclaimed to me last week. I was back home in Austin. We were at the Whitehorse. He said it as if it were up for discussion in the first place. “I’m totally with

Iguala, Ayotzinapa, and Why Carolyn Forché is More Relevant Than Ever

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I went to Mexico City to write about it. But also to read a lot too. To slough off the rust of my own ignorance about this country my family came from. You can never read enough. Such is the shame of academia. But the beauty of being young

Proxy Narratives: Jennifer Clement’s “Widow Basquiat”

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I’m always looking for a stellar book come November. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for the uninitiated) is about as appealing of an idea as having a month-long dental procedure and about as equally fun to be around. So, I mostly hide away. I do the opposite of what

The Book That Changed My Country

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I mostly sit at the window when I’m working at Café la Habana. I have a spot. It’s the same spot where I sat when my buddy, Santiago, first brought me for coffee when I arrived in Mexico City. But I’m attached to the spot for other reasons too.

Literary Boroughs #55: Mexico City, Mexico

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The Literary Boroughs series will explore little-known and well-known literary communities across the country and world and show that while literary culture can exist online without regard to geographic location, it also continues to thrive locally. Posts are by no means exhaustive. The series originally ran on our blog from May 2012 until April 2013.