Writing Off the Hyphen
New Perspectives on the Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Washington Press
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.. We also wish to pay our respects to the critical/theoretical voices that have influenced our research and understanding of diasporic Puerto Rican Studies: Edna Acosta-Bel
Introduction: The Literature of the Puerto Rican Diaspora and Its Critical Practice
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To fully appreciate the literature of Puerto Rican diaspora writers involves understanding the process of transnationalism,1 questioning the ideas that underpin concepts such as “nation,” “national,” and “cultural identity,” and scrutinizing the merging of histories and linguistic hybridity. It implies coming to terms with the works ...
Part I: Earlier Voices
1. Evolving Identities: Early Puerto Rican Writing in the United States and the Search for a New Puertorrique
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2. For the Sake of Love: Luisa Capetillo, Anarchy, and Boricua Literary History
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The very notion of Boricua literature is indebted to a body of scholarship in American literary history that has emerged in the past thirty years, one engaged in a recuperation of literature by and about people of color in tandem with a critique of elitist tenets tacitly at work in the formation of the U.S. literary canon, a canon that has, until ...
3. When “I” Became Ethnic: Ethnogenesis and Three Early Puerto Rican Diaspora Writers
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In 1993 Addison-Wesley published Esmeralda Santiago’s autobiographical work, When I Was Puerto Rican, to favorable reviews and healthy sales.1 The response by Puerto Ricans, however, was not completely positive. Geoffrey Fox, author of Hispanic Nation: Culture, Politics, and the Constructing of Identity, writes that the title of Santiago’s ...
Part II: Political and Historical
4. Anarchism in the Work of Aurora Levins Morales
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Critics are increasingly examining the work of Aurora Levins Morales for the themes of minority, multiple, or self-defined identity and instances of immigration, exile, or displacement. While some readers find the nonconformity of her work to a tradition or nation unique, others praise it for its equal affinity with Puerto Rican, Jewish, ...
5. Puerto Rican Literature in a New Clave: Notes on the Emergence of DiaspoRican
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That the study of Puerto Rican literature written outside Puerto Rico has reached a new formal stage is indicated by the publication in 2001 of Lisa Sánchez González’s Boricua Literature: A Literary History of the Puerto Rican Diaspora. Sánchez González herself comments on this in her introduction, where she points out, correctly, ...
6. The Political Left and the Development of Nuyorican Poetry
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The explosion of Nuyorican poetry, with its self-awareness as a new rupture in literary development, owes its foundational energy to its connection to the political Left and radical revolutionary politics. William Luis’ Dance between Two Cultures (1997) provides an excellent study of Nuyorican poetry’s indebtedness to at least one politically ...
Part III: Identity and Place
7. Literary Tropicalizations of the Barrio: Ernesto Quiñonez’s Bodega Dreams and Ed Vega’s Mendoza’s Dreams
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From the first stages of Puerto Rican migration to the United States, the urban barrios, especially East Harlem in New York, represented the new existential space for the Puerto Rican diaspora. Early writings by and about Puerto Ricans in New York, like Jesús Colón’s A Puerto Rican in New York and Bernardo Vega’s Memorias de Bernardo ...
8. Discordant Differences: Strategic Puerto Ricanness in Pedro Pietri’s Puerto Rican Obituary
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Commenting on what German immigrants should expect of their new life in America, John Quincy Adams wrote in 1819: “To one thing they must make up their minds, or they will be disappointed in every expectation of happiness as Americans. They must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to ...
9. “Borinkee” in Hawai‘i: Rodney Morales Rides the Diaspora Wave to Transregional Imperial Struggle
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This essay situates Honolulu-based author Rodney Morales’s shortstory collection, The Speed of Darkness, and first novel, When the Shark Bites, in a post-Nuyorican, greater Puerto Rico rubric that recognizes contemporary diasporic Puerto Rican literature as emerging from a field of broader locations and more complex genealogies than ...
10. Tato Laviera’s Parody of La carreta: Reworking a Tradition of Docility
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In 1979, Tato Laviera published his first book of poetry, titled La Carreta Made a U-Turn.1 The poems there weave together thematic threads that Laviera will wind and unwind in subsequent collections. Generally speaking, most of his poetry is concerned with representing and criticizing the situation of Puerto Ricans and other disadvantaged ...
Part IV: Home
11. Writing Home: Mapping Puerto Rican Collective Memory in The House on the Lagoon
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When Rosario Ferré chose to publish her novel The House on the Lagoon in English, her choice drew sharp questions from other Puerto Rican and Caribbean writers and critics.1 Several of her previous works had appeared in English—Sweet Diamond Dust and The Youngest Doll among them—but only after having been ...
12. Translating “Home” in the Work of Judith Ortiz Cofer
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The narrator of Judith Ortiz Cofer’s first novel, The Line of the Sun, is Marisol. When her father, Raphael, joins the navy, she moves from Puerto Rico to New Jersey with her mother, Ramona, and her younger brother, Gabriel. They live in an apartment house in Patterson with other Puerto Rican migrants, as well as her father during his ...
13. Getting There and Back: The Road, the Journey, and Homein Nuyorican Diaspora Literature
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The experiences of home, journey, and resettlement are perpetual tropes for understanding the affinities that shape cultural production in diasporic communities. Between Nuyorican and Yoruba diasporas in the Americas, these tropes are shared on a “real” historical and cultural basis through the legacy of colonialism and slavery in the ...
Part V: Gender
14. Identity of the “Diasporican” Homosexual in the Literary Periphery
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Scholars such as Judith Lorber, Annamarie Jagose, and Donald E. Hall argue that gender, as well as sexuality, is a social construct.1 As in many societies, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations as to how individuals should behave are often imposed specifically on groups that are “peripheral” because in some way or another they do not conform ...
15. Manuel Ramos Otero’s Queer Metafictional Resurrection of Julia de Burgos
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Manuel Ramos Otero (1948–1990) has earned considerable literary fame in Puerto Rico while remaining relatively unknown to many United States–based literary critics. Although he lived in New York for half of his life and wrote nearly all of his literature there, Ramos Otero only published works written in Spanish, thus complicating the traditional ...
16. Subverting the Mainland: Transmigratory Biculturalismin U.S. Puerto Rican Women’s Fiction
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The last several decades have witnessed the emergence of a distinct thematic trend in contestatory Latina literature. This trend is transnational and theorizes a new model of immigrant bicultural identity based on the transmigratory patterns of Latinos in the twentieth century, specifically Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans.1 ...
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Publication Year: 2008