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Born of Resistance Cover

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Born of Resistance

Cara a Cara Encounters with Chicana/o Visual Culture

Edited by Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell

This collection of essays interrogates the most contested social, political, and aesthetic concept in Chicana/o cultural studies—resistance.

If Chicana/o culture was born of resistance amid assimilation and nationalistic forces, how has it evolved into the twenty-first century? This groundbreaking volume redresses the central idea of resistance in Chicana/o visual cultural expression through nine clustered discussions, each coordinating scholarly, critical, curatorial, and historical contextualizations alongside artist statements and interviews. Landmark artistic works—illustrations, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and television—anchor each section. Contributors include David Avalos, Mel Casas, Ester Hernández, Nicholas Herrera, Luis Jiménez, Ellen Landis, Yolanda López, Richard Lou, Delilah Montoya, Laura Pérez, Lourdes Portillo, Luis Tapia, Chuy Treviño, Willie Varela, Kathy Vargas, René Yañez, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, and more. Cara a cara, face-to-face, encounters across the collection reveal the varied richness of resistant strategies, movidas, as they position crucial terms of debate surrounding resistance, including subversion, oppression, affirmation, and identification.

The essays in the collection represent a wide array of perspectives on Chicana/o visual culture. Editors Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell have curated a dialog among the many voices, creating an important new volume that redefines the role of resistance in Chicana/o visual arts and cultural expression.

Bring Down the Little Birds Cover

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Bring Down the Little Birds

By Carmen Giménez Smith

How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric memoir to shed light on the difficulties—and joys—of being a mother juggling work, art, raising children, pregnancy, and being a daughter to an ailing mother, and, perhaps most important, offering a rigorous and intensely imaginative contemplation on the concept of motherhood as such.

Writing in fragmented yet coherent sections, the author shares with us her interior monologue, affording the reader a uniquely honest, insightful, and deeply personal glimpse into a woman’s first and second journeys into motherhood. Giménez Smith begins Bring Down the Little Birds by detailing the relationship with her own mother, from whom her own concept of motherhood originated, a conception the author continually reevaluates and questions over the course of the book.

Combining fragments of thought, daydreams, entries from notebooks both real and imaginary, and real-life experiences, Giménez Smith interrogates everything involved in becoming and being a mother for both the first and second time, from wondering what her children will one day know about her own “secret life” to meditations on the physical effects of pregnancy as well as the myths, the nostalgia, and the glorification of motherhood.

While Giménez Smith incorporates universal experiences of motherhood that other authors have detailed throughout literature, what separates her book from these many others is that her reflections are captured in a style that establishes an intimacy and immediacy between author and reader through which we come to know the secret life of a mother and are made to question our own conception of what motherhood really means.

Broken Souths Cover

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Broken Souths

Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization

Michael Dowdy

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.

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Buried in Shades of Night

Contested Voices, Indian Captivity, and the Legacy of King Philip's War

Billy J. Stratton, Foreword by Frances Washburn, Afterword by George E. Tinker

The captivity narrative of Mary Rowlandson, The Soveraignty and Goodness of God, published in 1682, is often considered the first “best seller” to be published in North America. Since then, it has long been read as a first-person account of the trials of Indian captivity. After an attack on the Puritan town of Lancaster, Massachusetts, in February 1676, Rowlandson was held prisoner for more than eleven weeks before eventually being ransomed. The account of her experiences, published six years later, soon took its place as an exemplar of the captivity narrative genre and a popular focal point of scholarly attention in the three hundred years since.

In this groundbreaking new book, Billy J. Stratton offers a critical examination of the narrative of Mary Rowlandson. Although it has long been thought that the book’s preface was written by the influential Puritan minister Increase Mather, Stratton’s research suggests that Mather was also deeply involved in the production of the narrative itself, which bears strong traces of a literary form that was already well established in Europe. As Stratton notes, the portrayal of Indian people as animalistic “savages” and of Rowlandson’s solace in Biblical exegesis served as a convenient alibi for the colonial aspirations of the Puritan leadership.

Stratton calls into question much that has been accepted as fact by scholars and historians over the last century, and re-centers the focus on the marginalized perspective of Native American people, including those whose land had been occupied by the Puritan settlers. In doing so, Stratton demands a careful reconsideration of the role that the captivity narrative—which was instrumental in shaping conceptions of “frontier warfare”—has played in the development of both American literary history and national identity.

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Burton Barr

Political Leadership and the Transformation of Arizona

Philip R. VanderMeer, Foreword by Alfredo Gutierrez

Politics, like poker, requires timing and risk, and Burton Barr of Arizona knew it. The deal maker of Arizona politics would say, “You gotta know when to hold them.” For more than two decades, Barr played his political cards with skill as he led Arizona through an era of enormous growth and success.

Considered perhaps the most influential person in Arizona’s political development, Burton Barr represented north central Phoenix in the Arizona House of Representatives for the twenty-two years from 1964 to 1986. As the Republican House Majority Leader for twenty of those years, he left his fingerprints on every major piece of legislation during those decades, covering such issues as air pollution, health care for indigents, school aid, the tax code, prison reform, child care, groundwater management, and freeway funding.

Burton Barr’s political life unfolded during the very time his state and region shifted from being outliers to trendsetters. His choices in policy making and his leadership style were both an outcome and a creator of his sociopolitical environment. Arizona politics in the 1960s and ’70s was a rich brew of key elements, a time when the economy was being transformed, the nature and distribution of populations shifted, partisan politics were in flux, and the very lifeblood of the West—water—was being contested under increasing pressures of usage and depletion.

How Barr successfully responded to those challenges is the story of Arizona’s development during those years. At the heart of it, Barr’s political life and personality are inextricably bound up with the life of the West.

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Butterfly Moon

Short Stories

Anita Endrezze

Anita Endrezze has deep memories. Her father was a Yaqui Indian. Her mother traced her heritage to Slovenia, Germany, Romania, and Italy. And her stories seem to bubble up from this ancestral cauldron. Butterfly Moon is a collection of short stories based on folk tales from around the world. But its stories are set in the contemporary, everyday world. Or are they?

Endrezze tells these stories in a distinctive and poetic voice. Fantasy often intrudes into reality. Alternate “realities” and shifting perspectives lead us to question our own perceptions. Endrezze is especially interested in how humans hide feelings or repress thoughts by developing shadow selves. In “Raven’s Moon,” she introduces the shadow concept with a Black Moon, the “unseen reflection of the known.” (Of course the story is about a witch couple who seem very much in love.) The title character in “The Wife Who Lived on Wind” is an ogress who lives in a world somewhat similar to our own, but only somewhat. “The Vampire and the Moth Woman” reveals shape-shifters living among us. 

Not surprisingly, Trickster appears in these tales. As in Native American stories, Trickster might be a fox or a coyote or a raven or a human—or something in between. “White Butterflies” and “Where the Bones Are” both deal with devastating diseases that swept through Yaqui country in the 1530s. Underneath their surfaces are old Yaqui folktales that feature the greatest Trickster of all: Death (and his little brother Fate).

Enjoyably disturbing, these stories linger—deep in our memory.

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Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico

Urayoán Noel

Is poetry an alternative to or an extension of a globalized language? In Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico, poet Urayoán Noel maps the spaces between and across languages, cities, and bodies, creating a hemispheric poetics that is both broadly geopolitical and intimately neurological.

In this expansive collection, we hear the noise of cities such as New York, San Juan, and São Paulo abuzz with flickering bodies and the rush of vernaculars as untranslatable as the murmur in the Spanish rumor. Oscillating between baroque textuality and vernacular performance, Noel’s bilingual poems experiment with eccentric self-translation, often blurring the line between original and translation as a way to question language hierarchies and allow for translingual experiences.

A number of the poems and self-translations here were composed on a smartphone, or else de- and re-composed with a variety of smartphone apps and tools, in an effort to investigate the promise and pitfalls of digital vernaculars. Noel’s poetics of performative self-translation operates not only across languages and cultures but also across forms: from the décima and the “staircase sonnet” to the collage, the abecedarian poem, and the performance poem.

In its playful and irreverent mash-up of voices and poetic traditions from across the Americas, Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico imagines an alternative to the monolingualism of the U.S. literary and political landscape, and proposes a geo-neuro-political performance attuned to damaged or marginalized forms of knowledge, perception, and identity.

Calexico Cover

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True Lives of the Borderlands

Peter Laufer

These days everyone has something to say (or declaim!) about the U.S.–Mexico border. Whether it’s immigration, resource management, educational policy, or drugs, the borderlands are either the epicenter or the emblem of a current crisis facing the nation. At a time when the region has been co-opted for every possible rhetorical use, what endures is a resilient and vibrant local culture that resists easy characterization. For an honest picture of life on the border, what remains is to listen to voices that are too often drowned out: the people who actually live and work there, who make their homes and livings amid a confluence of cultures and loyalties. For many of these people, the border is less a hyphenated place than a meeting place, a merging. This aspect of the border is epitomized in the names of two cities that straddle the line: Calexico and Mexicali.

A “sleepy crossroads that exists at a global flashpoint,” Calexico serves as the reference point for veteran journalist Peter Laufer’s chronicle of day-to-day life on the border. This wide-ranging, interview-driven book finds Laufer and travel companion/photographer on a weeklong road trip through the Imperial Valley and other border locales, engaging in earnest and revealing conversations with the people they meet along the way. Laufer talks to secretaries and politicians, restaurateurs and salsa dancers, poets and real estate agents about the issues that matter to them the most.

What draws them to border towns? How do they feel about border security and the fences that may someday run through their backyards? Is “English-only” a realistic policy? Why have some towns flourished and others declined? What does it mean to be Mexican or American in such a place? Waitress Bonnie Peterson banters with customers in Spanish and English. Mayor Lewis Pacheco laments the role that globalization has played in his city’s labor market. Some of their anecdotes are humorous, others grim. Moreover, not everyone agrees. But this very diversity is part of the fabric of the borderlands, and these stories demand to be heard.

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Canto hondo / Deep Song

Francisco X. Alarcón

Canto hondo / Deep Song honors the Andalusian deep lyric, or canto hondo, poetry of famed Spanish writer Federico García Lorca through rich and expressive poems. Francisco X. Alarcón deftly places Spanish and English side-by-side in this bilingual collection that is a modern meditation on love, self, loss, and universal truths.

In this new collection, Alarcón creates poetry with roots in Gypsy songs clapped out in the distinctively short rhythms of flamenco music. Each page lifts the heart and stirs the soul by delving deep into the struggle for self and sexual identity.

Canto hondo / Deep Song includes 106 poems divided into four sections that articulate struggle, otherness, and the meaning of the poetic landscape. Like Lorca, Alarcón seeks out the fault lines where the lyric and the political bleed productively and proactively into one another.

An important voice in Chicano and GLBT poetry, Alarcón writes with a complex, emotionally powerful style that is accessible to students and all lovers of poetry and poetic traditions.

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Capture These Indians for the Lord

Indians, Methodists, and Oklahomans, 1844-1939

Tash Smith

In 1844, on the heels of the final wave of the forced removal of thousands of Indians from the southern United States to what is now Oklahoma, the Southern Methodist Church created a separate organization known as the Indian Mission Conference to oversee its missionary efforts among the Native communities of Indian Territory. Initially, the Church conducted missions as part of the era’s push toward assimilation. But what the primarily white missionaries quickly encountered was a population who exerted more autonomy than they expected and who used Christianity to protect their culture, both of which frustrated those eager to bring Indian Territory into what they felt was mainstream American society.

In Capture These Indians for the Lord, Tash Smith traces the trajectory of the Southern Methodist Church in Oklahoma when it was at the frontlines of the relentless push toward western expansion. Although many Native people accepted the missionaries’ religious practices, Smith shows how individuals found ways to reconcile the Methodist force with their traditional cultural practices. When the white population of Indian Territory increased and Native sovereignty came under siege during the allotment era of the 1890s, white communities marginalized Indians within the Church and exploited elements of mission work for their own benefit.

Later, with white indifference toward Indian missions peaking in the early twentieth century, Smith explains that as the remnants of the Methodist power weakened, Indian membership regained control and used the Church to regenerate their culture. Throughout, Smith explores the complex relationships between white and Indian community members and how these phenomena shaped Methodist churches in the twentieth century.

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