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Broken Souths

Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization

Michael Dowdy

Publication Year: 2013

Broken Souths offers the first in-depth study of the diverse field of contemporary Latina/o poetry. Its innovative angle of approach puts Latina/o and Latin American poets into sustained conversation in original and rewarding ways. In addition, author Michael Dowdy presents ecocritical readings that foreground the environmental dimensions of current Latina/o poetics.
Dowdy argues that a transnational Latina/o imaginary has emerged in response to neoliberalism—the free-market philosophy that underpins what many in the northern hemisphere refer to as “globalization.” His work examines how poets represent the places that have been “broken” by globalization’s political, economic, and environmental upheavals. Broken Souths locates the roots of the new imaginary in 1968, when the Mexican student movement crested and the Chicano and Nuyorican movements emerged in the United States. It theorizes that Latina/o poetics negotiates tensions between the late 1960s’ oppositional, collective identities and the present day’s radical individualisms and discourses of assimilation, including the “post-colonial,” “post-national,” and “post-revolutionary.” Dowdy is particularly interested in how Latina/o poetics reframes debates in cultural studies and critical geography on the relation between place, space, and nature.
Broken Souths features discussions of Latina/o writers such as Victor Hernández Cruz, Martín Espada, Juan Felipe Herrera, Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcos McPeek Villatoro, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jack Agüeros, Marjorie Agosín, Valerie Martínez, and Ariel Dorfman, alongside discussions of influential Latin American writers, including Roberto Bolaño, Ernesto Cardenal, David Huerta, José Emilio Pacheco, and Raúl Zurita.

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xii

Asymmetrical dialogue, equivocal silence, structural inequality, mistrust, and fascination have long defined relations between North and South in the Americas. The Chicano writer Juan Felipe Herrera’s fictionalized persona, Juan, portrays these conditions in a dramatized conversation with his partner, Maga, ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

My belief in the cooperative dimensions of intellectual work and the necessity of collectivist solutions to the problems of our current historical moment often clash with my preference for working in solitude. I say with certainty, however, that the ideas in this book are valuable only insofar as they have emerged from, and inspire, conversation. ...

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Introduction: Contesting the Counter-Revolution: A Latina/o Literary Geography of the Neoliberal Era

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pp. 1-28

Among literary representations of relations between Latin and North America, and the Latinos negotiating the upheavals and inequalities defining them, Guillermo Verdecchia’s Fronteras Americanas/American Borders stands out for its virtuosity. The play tracks the ascendancy of neoliberalism, ...

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1. Hemispheric Otherwises in the Shadow of “1968”: Martín Espada’s Zapatista Poems

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pp. 29-60

With border-crossing products, persons, and capital, and with treaties linking states under the auspice of market freedom, conceptions of a hemispheric America are possible in myriad ways unimaginable even to visionaries such as Walt Whitman and José Martí. ...

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2. Molotovs and Subtleties: Juan Felipe Herrera’s Post-Movement Norteamérica

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pp. 61-90

While Earl Shorris declares Espada “the Latino poet of his generation,” Francisco A. Lomelí calls Herrera the “voice of the overall Chicano experience” (xv). They are indeed two “of the few Latino poets in this country to have any kind of forum,” as Espada describes his status (“ ‘Taking Back’ ” 540). ...

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3. Against the Neoliberal State: Roberto Bolaño’s “Country” of Writing and Martín Espada’s “Republic” of Poetry

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pp. 91-121

“Silly questions” provoke consideration of the inconceivable. If the definitive narrative of Bolaño’s life, literature, and nation had not happened, surely history—Bolaño’s, Chile’s, and Latin America’s—would be different. This is how epoch-defining events are narrated. Yet Bolaño posits that the historical otherwise—the coup of September 11, 1973, ...

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4. “Andando entre dos mundos”: Maurice Kilwein Guevara’s and Marcos McPeek Villatoro’s Appalachian Latino Poetics

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pp. 122-154

While browsing a bookstore in Bogotá’s Eldorado International Airport in 2010 after visiting friends, I noticed a book bearing the name of Colombia’s former president amid the typical airport fare: travel guides, detective novels, self-improvement tracts, celebrity memoirs. ...

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5. “Migration . . . is not a crime” : Puerto Rican Status and “T-shirt solidarity” in Judith Ortiz Cofer, Victor Hernández Cruz, and Jack Agüeros

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pp. 155-187

Two weeks before the island plebiscite on December 13, 1998, in which a majority voted for “None of the Above” over “Independence,” “Statehood,” “Commonwealth As Is,” and “Revised Commonwealth,” the Boston Herald published Don Feder’s column opposing Puerto Rican statehood. ...

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6. Godzilla in Mexico City: Poetics of Infrastructure in José Emilio Pacheco and Roberto Bolaño

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pp. 188-214

When Lefebvre’s digressive manifesto for urban studies, The Urban Revolution, was published in 1970, Mexico City’s population was eight million. Due to massive rural-to-urban migration, the population now approaches thirty million and Lefebvre’s modeling of urban space as a simultaneously discrete and comprehensive field for the coming era ...

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Coda. “Too much of it”: Marjorie Agosín’s and Valerie Martínez’s Representations of Femicide in the Maquila Zone

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pp. 215-232

Ciudad Juárez, the fourth largest city in Mexico, and El Paso, on the other side of the Rio Grande, dramatize North/South relations more acutely than any other urban agglomeration, border zone, or convergence of multinational capital formations in the hemisphere. ...


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pp. 233-248


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pp. 249-266


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pp. 267-279

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About the Author

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p. 297-297

Michael Dowdy is an assistant professor of English at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where he teaches twentieth-century North American and Latin American poetries, Latina/o literature, and multiethnic literatures of the United States. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780816599578
E-ISBN-10: 0816599572
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530298
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530297

Page Count: 264
Illustrations: 2 photos
Publication Year: 2013