Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Sandra Cisneros

25 years ago, the world was just beginning to learn about all that goes on at The House on Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros introduced us to Esperanza Cordero and we began to experience, through her eyes, being young, poor, female, and Chicana in America.

Maria Hinojosa talks with Cisneros about life beyond Mango Street.


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An Ode to Aura

Many spend a lifetime in search of their true soul mate and ultimate love –passionate and everlasting. Very few can say they’ve experienced it. Internationally acclaimed Guatemalan – American author and journalist Francisco Goldman is one of the lucky ones, but his love story has a tragic ending.

Goldman’s soul mate was the beautiful and talented Mexican writer, Aura Estrada. They got married in the summer of 2005, but less than two years later she died in a random swimming accident at their favorite beach in Mexico.

To cope with his grief, Goldman began to write. In his critically acclaimed novel Say Her Name, he chronicles their love story and deep spiritual connection through the prism of his bitter-sweet memories that at times blur the line between reality and fiction.

Maria Hinojosa recently sat down with Goldman to talk about his book and his life with Aura and after her death.


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¡Sissy Puede!

Writer Erasmo Guerra felt alone and outcast growing up as a gay teen on the Southern Border of Texas. He struggled with the intolerant environment. Now decades later, as a gay man in a long term relationship, he reflects on the isolation and depression of being a gay boy growing up in a masculine Latino world.

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OBIT: Chicana Poet Angela de Hoyos

Actually, to call Angela de Hoyos a Chicana poet would be too limiting. To those who knew her, she bore many titles: co-foundress of a movement, woman of letters, publishing activist, voice of the voiceless, and many, many more.

Born in Mexico, de Hoyos called San Antonio, Texas her home for the great majority of her life. She died on September 24. But her birth date is a matter of intense dispute. Some encyclopedias describe her as being born in 1940. Her official obit in the San Antonio Express News placed her birth date in 1923. Those dates aren’t even close. But what is not in dispute is her legacy and role in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Largely unschooled, de Hoyos was mainly a self-educated woman. She often told the story of how she used to create childhood rhymes when she was four years old during a long convalescence from an illness. By the late 1960s, she began having some of her poetry published, winning international awards beginning with the Bronze Medal of Honor of the Centro Studii e Scambii Internazionale (CSSI) in Rome in 1966. She won awards for her writing from Argentina, India, Italy, and Germany. Her works would be translated into fifteen languages. As fate would have it, de Hoyos’ was better known in Europe than in her adopted U.S.-homeland.

When she read a letter to the editor in one of the San Antonio newspapers in 1970s, suggesting that all “Mes’kins” should go home, she fought back, writing: “Yes, amigo …! Why don’t I? Why don’t I resurrect the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa María — and you can scare up your little ‘Flor de Mayo’ —so we can all sail back to where we came from: the motherland womb.”

At the height of the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, de Hoyos and her husband Moises Sandoval created M&A Editions. They would publish and mentor writers like Evangelina Vigil-Piñón, Carmen Tafolla, and Inés Hernández. Her self-published poem “To Walt Whitman” remains one of her most quoted pieces.

Perhaps her most important poem as far as Chicanos are concerned was her seminal work, “Arise, Chicano.” Here now, Maria Hinojosa recites de Hoyos’ classic poem.


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Remembering Mario Benedetti

In Latin America, he was as famous as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabelle Allende, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Carlos Fuentes. But in the English-speaking world, Mario Benedetti was largely unknown. And in Montevideo, Uruguay, Benedetto was not only famous, but beloved for what many say was his knack for capturing the essence of Uruguayan life, a great observer and recorder of the ordinary. Crowds of admirers used to gather at his public appearances to hear him read from his poems, essays, novels, and short stories.

Mario Benedetti died May 17 at the age of 88 in Montevideo.

Adriana Dominguez

While native to Uruguay, Benedetti was forced into exile from 1973 through 1985 when military dictatorships ruled the country. For a time, he lived in Lima, Buenos Aires, Havana, and Madrid. But in the end, he was considered the quintessential Montevideano.
Adriana Dominguez is a book editor who grew up in Uruguay. She writes a blog on Latin American authors called “Voces.”

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