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The fourth in the successful literary cities series by TCU Press, Literary El Paso brings attention to the often overlooked extraordinary literary heritage of this city in far West Texas. El Paso is the largest metropolitan area along the U.S.-Mexico border and geographically isolated from the rest of Texas. It is in this splendid isolation surrounded by mountains in the midst of the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert that many award-winning writers found their literary voices. Daudistel uses her years of publishing experience in El Paso to gather the works of past, present and emerging writers of the Borderlands. Historical essays, fiction, journalism and poetry portray the colorful history and vibrant present of this city on the border through the works of sixty-three writers. Once a backdrop to the Mexican Revolution, El Paso was also home to infamous outlaws. Historians C.L. Sonnichsen, and Leon Metz write on the gunmen and lawmen of El Paso such as John Wesley Hardin, Dallas Stoudenmire and Bass Outlaw. There are feature stories from award-winning journalists Ruben Salazar early in his newspaper career, Ramon Renteria with the last interview of poet Ricardo Sanchez and Bryan Woolley on the 1966 UTEP Miners and lively South El Paso Street. Many groundbreaking Chicano writers who began their work in El Paso, such as Jose Antonio Burciaga, Abelardo Delgado, Estela Portillo Trambley and Arturo Islas are featured. The works of Tom Lea, the stories of Amado Muro, Dagoberto Gilb, Rick DeMarinis, Pat Littledog, the inimitable word sketches of Elroy Bode and the poetry of Benjamin Alire Saenz, Pat Mora, and Bernice Love Wiggins, one of the first African-American female poets published in Texas, explore the experience of life in El Paso. In addition, previously unpublished works from John Rechy, Ray Gonzalez and Robert Seltzer are included. Literary El Paso features bilingual selections for the first time in the series to reflect the bicultural environment of the region and the state.
Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in late August of 2005. In the aftermath of the category-three hurricane, the churning waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore through the levee system of New Orleans, causing unprecedented flooding and stranding those who had failed to evacuate in time. Images of desperate men and women clinging to rooftops and praying for rescue filled every news station. It is in this setting that Thomas Zigal’s new novel unfolds.
With water rapidly rising to alarming heights and contaminated by filth, the only way in or out of New Orleans is by boat. Hodges Grant, a veteran of Vietnam, must ply the fetid waters in a homemade craft in order to reach his stranded daughter and two grandchildren. Accompanied by his grandchildren’s good-for-nothing father Duval, Hodges enters into the treacherous wreckage left by the storm. The city appears to be deserted except for a few police out to commandeer civilian boats—by force, if necessary.
Deirdra, or Dee as she is known, was hardly daunted by the idea of a hurricane. There had been too many false alarms in the past from government officials. Still, for the sake of her two children, Dee had attempted to evacuate, only to turn back as gangs of armed highjackers pulled hapless drivers from their cars in gridlocked traffic. Now she and her children are stranded in their attic as the water laps at the hatch. They can only hope for Hodges’s swift arrival.
Hodges’s son PJ and eight thousand other inmates remain incarcerated in the Orleans Parish Jail as the waters begin to rise. Abandoned by the guards, the inmates must break through the bars of their cells or drown. They discover armed guards calmly waiting in boats outside; they pull a few inmates to safety and threaten to shoot those who rush for the fence.
As the waters advance through the city of New Orleans, so does Zigal’s story. Told through the eyes of each member of the Grant family, Zigal weaves a tale bound by terror, loss, perseverance, and survival.
and Other Compositions
Barbara González Cigarroa brings to life stories of her ancestors and other family members, including: Rebecca Iriarte, who raised her five children during the Mexican Revolution of 1910; Judge Manuel J. Raymond, one of the last of the border patrones who expertly navigated contrasting cultures across border lines; Henry B. González, US Congressman and the first Mexican American elected to the Texas Senate during a time of blatant racial discrimination; Dr. Joaquin González Cigarroa Jr., a revered physician and education activist; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, pediatric transplant surgeon and former chancellor of the University of Texas system; Barbara Flores Cigarroa, a mother of ten whose values and resolve inspired her children and many grandchildren to excel in the finest universities and beyond.
In presenting richly detailed vignettes with keen observation and grace, Cigarroa offers captivating and original insights not only into her family’s remarkable story, but also into the beauty of the extraordinary traits and enduring spirit of the people of our Texas borderlands.
By reuniting Serafina with her mother in Solitario, Clayton hopes to assuage his guilt about her death twenty-five years earlier. However, whether Clayton moves Serafina immediately or ignores the contracted deadline, either act will trigger drilling into the aquifer for water. His lifelong friends are vehemently opposed to drilling.
When a young Mexican woman mysteriously enters his life, Clayton must delay his efforts to move Serafina and surreptitiously help this woman who has illegally crossed into Texas. This decision also raises the ire of Clayton’s friends.
Throughout the novel, Clayton struggles with both the internal and external borders of his life. And the eccentric characters of Solitario find they, too, must confront their own geographical, psychological, and racial boundaries.
"It's the first feller that does something that is the hero, and the last feller that does it that is the fool," Preacher tells Lampassas. But Lampassas and his crew are made great by the enormity of their folly, the strength of their dream.
On Writing in the Lone Star State
Jameson has compiled an assorted collection of fourteen essays by some of the most prominent Texas writers through which he hopes to explore the following questions: “How did they accomplish their goals? Why did they choose the writing life? What influence did the history, lore, and culture of Texas play in their creative process?” While readily citing the “decidedly Texas flavor” in his own fiction, Jameson seeks to uncover the inspirations in other writers from both the expansive and rugged Texas terrain as well as the varied people therein.
The fourteen writers who comprise Notes from Texas range from the captivating and often humorous essayist Larry L. King to the beloved historical novelist Elmer Kelton. Other contributors include James Ward Lee, known for his expertise in Texas cuisine and culture, and poet and songwriter Red Steagall. This collection bestows each with a “chance to express what they wished to share about their art and their life as a Texas writer.”
When the police find an aging ex-hippie dead from bullet wounds to the head and torso, they find Roger’s photos and want his help. Surrounded by a cast of colorful characters, Roger must do his job while maneuvering around the dangerous agendas of those around him. But the greatest obstacle is the recurring cocaine trail leading to Jewel McQueen, a small-time crook, who is guarded by his sociopathic brother, Sunshine McQueen, who hears voices from Jesus, Satan, and his mother. Jewell will stop at nothing—even murder—to keep his demented brother out of prison.
Roger must leave the enclosed suburbs with their exclusive, prim, cleaned-up Jesus and cheap cocaine and liquor habits and, with his new partners, venture “behind the pine curtain,” into the deep Piney Woods with its wild, unruly Pentecostal Jesus and meth-lab economy and mentality.
His long journey through three orphanages and several foster homes is recalled with surprising humor and insight. Eventually, the boy finds a home in a small Oklahoma oil town, obtains degrees from two universities, marries and raises three sons, and becomes the youngest director of the San Francisco Public Library and an award-winning book designer.
The book is an unsentimental look at Bechan’s life in the child welfare system of Depression-era Oklahoma.
New and Selected Poems
Ruffin uses alliteration and subtle textured sounds throughout his poetry, making them likeably conversational while full of crafted sound patterns. Ruffin also employs whimsical narratives, coining the word “Necrofiligumbo” in “When the Mummy Became a Mommy.” But, Hill explains, the true power of this book comes from its storytelling. With the new material, readers will encounter compelling, often drop-dead funny storytelling.