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Mexican American Literature
First EditionDagoberto Gilb; Ricardo Angel Gilb©2016
Read and study old-school with our bound texts.
Edited by writer Dagoberto Gilb, with Ricardo Angel Gilb, this brand-new anthology presents essential works by 50 Mexican American authors—from Américo Paredes to Josefina López.
Table of Contents
- Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca , How the Following Day They Brought Other Sick People
- Jovita González, The Bullet-Swallower
- Sabine R . Ulibarrí, My Grandma Smoked Cigars
- Mario Suárez, Maestría
- Américo Paredes, The Country
- Rubén Salazar , La Nacha Sells Dirty Dope...
- John Rechy, From City of Night
- Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez, "I Am Joaquín"
- alurista , fértil polvo; What Now…Corn
- Luis Valdez, Las Dos Caras del Patroncito; Los Vendidos
- José Montoya , El Louie
- Ricardo Sánchez , Soledad Was a Girl’s Name; Say, Tush-Hog Convict
- Angela de Hoyos , Go Ahead, Ask Her; You Will Grow Old
- Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado, Stupid America; The Chicano Manifesto
- Ernesto Galarza, The Barrio
- Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, From The Revolt of the Cockroach People
- Tomás Rivera , La Noche Buena
- Rolando Hinojosa, The People of Belken County
- Rudolfo Anaya, From Bless Me, Ultima
- Ron Arias, From The Road to Tamazunchale
- Tino Villanueva, Scene from the Movie GIANT; I Too Have Walked My Barrio Streets
- Carmen Tafolla , Tía Sofía; Curandera
- Gary Soto , The Elements of San Joaquin; Where Were You When You First Heard of Air-Conditioning?
- Juan Felipe Herrera , Exiles; Inside the Jacket
- Richard Rodriguez , Complexion
- Lorna Dee Cervantes, Poem For the Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, an Intelligent, Well-Read Person Could Believe in the War Between Races; A Chicano Poem
- Jimmy Santiago Baca, Immigrants in Our Own Land; I Will Remain
"My cell is crisscrossed with laundry lines, / my T-shirts, boxer shorts, socks and pants are drying. / Just like it used to be in my neighborhood…"
- Alberto Álvaro Ríos , True Story of the Pins; Old Man on the Hospital Porch
- Gloria Anzaldúa, Towards a New Consciousness
- Cherríe Moraga , La Güera
- Ana Castillo, Saturdays; A Marriage of Mutes
- Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek
- Denise Chávez, ¡Híjole! In the Darkness
- Pat Mora, Elena; Now and Then, America
- Helena María Viramontes , Neighbors
- The Hernandez Brothers (Mario, Gilbert, Jaime), Chiro el Indio
- Dagoberto Gilb , Maria de Covina
- Luis J . Rodríguez, Tía Chucha; Always Running
- Demetria Martínez, From Mother Tongue
- Benjamín Alire Sáenz , Sometimes the Rain
- Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Real-Life Border Thriller
- Rubén Martínez , The Line
- Luis Alberto Urrea , From The Hummingbird’s Daughter
- Josefina López, Act I from Real Women Have Curves
- Lalo Alcaraz , From La Cucaracha
- Michele Serros , Role Model Rule Number 1: Never Give Up an Opportunity to Eat for Free
- Lorraine López, Soy la Avon Lady
- Christine Granados , The Bride
- Gustavo Arellano, From ¡Ask a Mexican!
(historical narrative; 1536)
"...all of us had to become medicine men. I was the most daring and reckless of all in undertaking cures."
"...he told interminable stories of border feuds…as he fingered a curved, murderous knife which ended in three inches of zigzag, jagged steel."
"A black silhouette on a blue background. Straight, tall and slender…[h]er skirt and shawl flapping in the wind behind her. Her eyes fixed I don’t know where."
"The maestro looked closely at the rooster’s long thick legs, at his tail, which by its length might have belonged to a peacock, at the murder in both of his eager eyes…"
"...at its earliest period in history the Lower Rio Grande was inhabited by outlaws, whose principal offense was an independent spirit."
(journalism/news article; 1955)
"She deals out misery from her comfortable home…. She’s as casual about it as if she were selling tortillas."
"I moved Winnie against the wall of the house…. The clouds have shut out the sky completely, the wind is howling violently, and it is Awesomely dark. My mother keeps calling…"
"I am Joaquín, / lost in a world of confusion, / caught up in the whirl of a / gringo society, / confused by the rules, /…and destroyed by modern society."
(poetry; 1975; 2010)
"…hijas del sol / salen de la tierra / y en polvo / convierten / fértil tierra …"
(drama 1965; 1967)
"You sure as hell ain’t got my problems… Like housing, don’t I let you live in my labor camp, nice, rent-free cabins, air-conditioned?"
"Hoy enterraron al Louie. / And San Pedro o sanpinche / are in for it. And those / times of the forties / and the early fifties / lost un vato de atolle."
(poetry; 1985; 1976)
"i used to watch her, / and think her name / was ironic / and poetic, / for she was Soledad Guerra, / solitude and war..."
"…I go about / grinding my teeth / on the thankless endless / daily task: / dusting your wings."
"…he is a poet without paper and pencil / and since he cannot write / he will explode."
"…I maneuvered myself to keep my mother between me and the gringo lady. In a matter of seconds I had to decide whether she was a possible friend or a menace. We sat down."
"...we want to talk with you about the autopsy… Your doctor listed it as suicide. However, we are convinced that the boy was murdered."
(fiction; 1971; 1977 in English)
"The fact was that Doña María rarely left the house… she only went to church whenever someone died and, occasionally, when there was a wedding."
"Seeing his serious and sanctimonious face, Viola said to herself: ‘This is my kind of person…’ And that’s how the devil got them together…"
"¡Por Dios, hombres!... Let us act like men! That is not an animal down there, that is a man. Lupito. You all know Lupito. You know that the war made him sick."
"Carefully he pulled each fingertip as he would a glove. The rest was simple, and soon his body lay gleaming under the fragile light of the table lamp."
(poetry; 1993; 1984)
"… the front door to a roadside café opens and / Shuts as the Benedicts (Rock Hudson and Elizabeth/Taylor), their daughter Luz… pass through it not / Unobserved."
"Afuera de tu casa, / entre la hierba buena y el aniz / estoy planteada."
(poetry; 1999; 1977)
"How I wanted to shrink myself to the size of a fly / And sit on the lip of an ice tea. / I could careen around the rim, / My toes sweet with sugar."
(poetry; 1983; 1987)
"At the greyhound bus stations, at airports, at silent wharfs / the bodies exit the crafts. Women, men, children; cast out / from the new paradise."
"I am the only one in the family whose face is severely cut to the line of ancient Indian ancestors… my profile suggests one of those beak-nosed Maya sculptures."
(poetry; 1981; 2012)
"They tried to take our words. / Give us the Spanish translation for / ‘Pain'…"
(poetry; 1982; 1985)
"...he went into the most terrible / of rages, too terrible / for a butterfly collector / we all said afterward…"
"They’d like to think I have melted in the pot. But I haven’t, we haven’t."
"What the oppressor often succeeds in doing is simply externalizing his fears, projecting them into the bodies of women, Asians, gays, disabled folks, whoever seems most ‘other.’"
"Because she worked all week / away from home, gone from 5 to 5, / Saturdays she did the laundry…"
"Sometimes she thinks of her father’s house. But how could she go back there? What a disgrace."
"In the darkness of El Colón movie theater… Pedro Infante, the Mexican movie star, stares straight at me with his dark, smoldering eyes."
(poetry; 1984; 1986)
"...if I stop trying, I will be deaf / when my children need my help."
"Aura Rodríguez always stayed within her perimeters, both personal and otherwise, and expected the same of her neighbors."
(graphic fiction; 2008)
"Chiro and his wife Preciosa are the token native Indians in their village, and the church has been trying to quietly seize the plot of land deeded to the local Indians in perpetuity!"
(fiction; 1997; 2001)
"…I bought a suit, with silk lining, at Lemonde for Men. It came with a matching vest. That’s what made it for me. I love getting all duded up, looking fine, I really do."
"Every few years / Tía Chucha would visit the family / in a tornado of song / and open us up / as if we were an overripe avocado."
"...our guest is a classic political asylum case, assuming he decides to apply. Complete with proof of torture."
"There’s always a gun around—even when you can’t see it. There’s always a finger… that’s itching to pull the trigger of the gun that’s always around."
"He asked me several times, ‘Papa, how come you are brown and I am pink?’ Last month, he finally learned what that means."
"All there was back then was a scraggly fence.… On a bluff a hundred yards north, Border Patrol jeeps were perched day and night."
"On the cool October morning when Cayetana Chávez brought her baby to light ... the humid torrents of summer finally gave way to breezes and fallen leaves."
"Is it selfish of me not to want to wake up every morning at 6:30 a.m., Saturdays included, to come work here for 67 dollars a week?"
(editorial cartoons; 2004)
"…I’m your radically political alter-ego—a cockroach—a traditional literary figure in Mexican pop culture meant to evoke the masses, the people, La Raza!"
"‘I’m not going back,’" I told her. ‘I ain’t gonna spend my Sunday morning dishing out mango crepes to uppity Mexicans.’
‘I thought they were Chicana.’
"...that last day, a Sunday, we were coming from mass, she was the one to point to the station wagon bearing down on us like a cannonball, and she said "¡Ay borracho!"
"Every year when she was a child, Rochelle dressed as a beautiful, blushing bride for Halloween. She sauntered her way down the hot, dusty streets of El Paso…"
"Dear Gabachos: Bienvenidos to ¡Ask a Mexican!, the world’s foremost authority on America’s spiciest minority!"
50. Domingo Martinez, The Mimis
"my sisters Mare and Margie had preemptively developed the fantasy of ‘the Mimis’…
They had secretly reinvented themselves for the adolescent phase of their lives."