Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists (Google eBook)

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University of Texas Press, Jan 1, 2010 - Literary Criticism
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Since the 1980s, a prolific "second wave" of Chicano/a writers and artists has tremendously expanded the range of genres and subject matter in Chicano/a literature and art. Building on the pioneering work of their predecessors, whose artistic creations were often tied to political activism and the civil rights struggle, today's Chicano/a writers and artists feel free to focus as much on the aesthetic quality of their work as on its social content. They use novels, short stories, poetry, drama, documentary films, and comic books to shape the raw materials of life into art objects that cause us to participate empathetically in an increasingly complex Chicano/a identity and experience.

This book presents far-ranging interviews with twenty-one "second wave" Chicano/a poets, fiction writers, dramatists, documentary filmmakers, and playwrights. Some are mainstream, widely recognized creators, while others work from the margins because of their sexual orientations or their controversial positions. Frederick Luis Aldama draws out the artists and authors on both the aesthetic and the sociopolitical concerns that animate their work. Their conversations delve into such areas as how the artists' or writers' life experiences have molded their work, why they choose to work in certain genres and how they have transformed them, what it means to be Chicano/a in today's pluralistic society, and how Chicano/a identity influences and is influenced by contact with ethnic and racial identities from around the world.


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Page 17 - We can no longer camouflage our needs, can no longer let defenses and fences sprout around us. We can no longer withdraw. To rage and look upon you with contempt is to rage and be contemptuous of ourselves. We can no longer blame you, nor disown the white parts, the male parts, the pathological parts, the queer parts, the vulnerable parts. Here we are weaponless with open arms, with only our magic. Let's try it our way, the mestiza way, the Chicana way, the woman way.
Page 16 - Chicano literature should have a "regional" or "costumbrista" basis but rather a profound indagación beyond these attitudes. It should, by drawing upon cultural origins, provide a perception of the world, of people, of oneself in awe of one's own life and its perplexities, its complexities, and its beauty. At present, Chicano literature is specific for the most part, and more and more provides a profound, lasting focus upon a personal perception. It beckons one to the source. I am like a drunkard,...
Page 16 - Why should the Chicano experience be limited to the campesino struggle, the description of life in the barrio, or the social confrontation with the majority culture? Why can it not go beyond to include the universal nature of man?
Page 16 - More often than not, much of the fiction we do have is document, and sometimes not very well written document. Much of what is passed off as literature is a compendium of folklore, religious superstition, and recipes for tortillas. All well and good, but it is not literature.
Page 16 - ... other" in Chicano literature, but by this I do not mean to say that I find or reflect or faithfully render the Chicano experience. As a matter of fact, I would hope that what I write goes further. To claim that my own writing is representative of the Chicano experience is not my intention. Rather, I should like to focus on Chicano writing as a ritual of immortality, of awe in the face of the "other" — a ritual of the living, in a sense, a fiesta of the living.
Page 27 - Canicula (1995), Alberto Urrea's Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border (1993), and Ricardo Aguilar's A barlovento (1999). In their review essays, Juan Bruce-Novoa, Maria Socorro Tabuenca, Luis Mendoza, and Alberto Ledesma (among others) have comprehensively catalogued and analyzed much border literature. In "The US-Mexican Border in Chicano Testimonial Writing: A Topological...
Page 50 - From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems.

About the author (2010)

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English at Ohio State University.

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