Chicana/o Literature Archive

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street

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Chicago, 1980. A young woman taps at a typewriter in the small kitchen—the only room with heat—of a rented apartment on North Paulina Street, square in the center of the Bucktown neighborhood.

“Post-Truth” is the Anti-Poetry of Our Time: Why I’m Reading Carmen Tafolla ahead of 2017

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The humanity of Carmen Tafolla’s poetry collection, Salsa and Sonnets (Wings Press) brings me back to the year I was living in Mexico City when in 2014, forty-three Ayotzinapa students were disappeared and presumably killed.

Chicanas in Literature

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First, let’s you and me get in my time machine. . . . Suddenly we are in a world in which the Mexican-American border is being nationally debated, the Mexican-American people are being treated as second-class citizens—are punished for speaking Spanish, for teaching Mexican-American history and culture.

The Argonauts Is A Direct Descendant Of Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera And No One Is Talking About It

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On my desk, Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts and Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera sit one atop the other. I didn’t plan it that way. It just sort of happened like that—I read one and then I read the other. It wasn’t until this week, when I was leafing through them

Deliberate Accidents of Discovery: The Trouble With Finding New Latina/o Writers

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In an exercise of radical honesty I’ll share this with you: I almost always find great new Latina/o writing by accident. I think part of this is my pell-mell strategy of finding new books (at literary events, on coffee tables, etc.) though part of it can be attributed to

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

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

Is Chicana/o Literature Dead? (A: No, not really): A Teacher’s Ramblings

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It used to be that I didn’t know what Chicana/o literature was. Sometimes I still think I don’t, which is embarrassing because I teach classes on Chicana/o lit. The dictionary definition is easy—it’s been studied, chronicled, crystalized–and I can easily think of my heroes: Helena Maria Viramontes, Dagoberto Gilb,

Voice and Chorus: Cristina Henriquez and “The Book of Unknown Americans”

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I saw Cristina Henriquez read just a few weeks ago at Book Court in Brooklyn, where my poet buddy, Sally Wen Mao, took me after a long day in the city. Generally, I’m horrible at readings.  I’m the guy seated in the front row, probably running on three hours of

Huizache: The Biggest Little Secret in Texas

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As far as literary journal subscriptions go, I only maintain three. I’m one of those writers, and for my sins I mostly miss the great early pieces of writers I come to love years later. This is especially true of new Latina/o writers, who I think most people miss