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What is Latino literature?

1st day of Class
by

Leona Fisher

on 16 January 2013

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Transcript of What is Latino literature?

Literature Latin American Literature British Literature Welsh Literature Scottish Literature English Literature Argentinian Literature Chilean Literature Colombian Literature (North) American Literature
i.e. U.S. Literature French Literature African American Literature Asian American Literature White (Anglo-Saxon)
American Literature Latino Literature Chicano/a Literature Nuyorican Literature Cuban-American Literature etc., etc. Spanish Literature Latino Literature: Brief History and Context What do we do with a figure like José Martí? 1853- 1895 1844: The Dominican Republic is formed and separated from Haiti

1846-1848: The United Sates-Mexican War

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is approved;
half of what was once Mexico now belongs to the United States

1902: Cuba becomes independent from Spain

1942: The U.S. begins the Bracero Program that makes official
the existing practice of allowing Mexicans to travel to the United
States for temporary work in California and the Southwest.

1943: Zoot Suit riots in Los Angeles

1961: The Bay of Pigs

1965: César Chávez and Dolores Huerta begin the grape boycotts,
marking the beginning of the Chicano movement. Playwright Luis Valdez becomes active in the movement along with many others.

1971: Rudolfo Anaya publishes his award-winning novel, _Bless Me, Ultima_.

1972: Rudolfo Acuña publishes _Occupied America: A History of Chicanos The first "chicano/a" writer? María Amparo Ruíz de Burton (1832-1895) What about Julia de Burgos?
(1914-1953) I Was My Own Path

I wanted to be like men wanted me to be:
an attempt at life;
a game of hide and seek with my being.
But I was made of nows,
and my feet level on the promissory earth
would not accept walking backwards
and went forward, forward,
mocking the ashes to reach the kiss
of new paths.

At each advancing step on my route forward
my back was ripped by the desperate flapping wings
of the old guard.

But the branch was unpinned forever,
and at each new whiplash my look
separated more and more and more from the distant
familiar horizons;
and my face took the expansion that came from within,
the defined expression that hinted at a feeling
of intimate liberation;
a feeling that surged
from the balance between my life
and the truth of the kiss of the new paths.

Already my course now set in the present,
I felt myself a blossom of all the soils of the earth,
of the soils without history,
of the soils without a future,
of the soil always soil without edges
of all the men and all the epochs.

And I was all in me as was life in me .. . .

I wanted to be like men wanted me to be:
an attempt at life;
a game of hide and seek with my being.
But I was made of nows;
when the heralds announced me
at the regal parade of the old guard,
the desire to follow men warped in me,
and the homage was left waiting for me. Yo misma fui mi ruta

Yo quise ser como los hombres quisieron
que yo fuese: un intento de vida;
un juego al escondite con mi ser.
Pero yo estaba hecha de presentes,
y mis pies, planos sobre la tierra promisora
no resistían caminar hacia atrás,
y seguían adelante, adelante,
burlando las cenizas
para alcanzar el beso de los senderos nuevos.

A cada paso adelantado en mi ruta hacia el frente
rasgaba mis espaldas el aleteo desesperado
de los troncos viejos.

Pero la rama estaba desprendida para siempre,
y a cada nuevo azote la mirada mía se separaba más
y más y más de los lejanos horizontes aprendidos:
y mi rostro iba tomando la espresión que le venía
de adentro, la expresión definida que asomaba
un sentimiento de liberación íntima;
un sentimiento que surgía del equilibrio sostenido
entre mi vida y la verdad del beso de los senderos nuevos.

Ya definido mi rumbo en el presente,
me sentí brote de todos los suelos de la tierra,
de los suelos sin historia, de los suelos sin porvenir,
del suelo siempre suelo sin orillas
de todos los hombres y de todas las épocas.

Y fui toda en mí como fue en mí la vida…
Yo quiese ser como los hombres quisieron que yo fuese:
un intento de vida; un juego al escondite con mi ser.
Pero yo estaba hecha de presentes;
cuando ya los heraldos me anunciaban
en el regio desfile de los troncos viejos, se me torció el
deseo de seguir a los hombres, Some Common Themes in Latino Literature:

Identity (formed through a simultaneous embracing of plurality and recognizing a deep sense of loss)

Issues of Social Justice and Equality

Sexism, Machismo, Gender Roles and Gender Identity

Family and family dynamics

Tradition and Religion

Borders, barriers, difference, acculturation and its consequences Martín Espada (1957-)

Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1989

No one asks
where I am from
I must be
from the country of janitors,
I have always mopped this floor.
Honduras, you are a squatter’s camp
outside the city
of their understanding.

No one can speak
My name,
I host the fiesta
of the bathroom,
Stirring the toilet
like a punchbowl.
The Spanish music of my name
is lost
when the guests complain
about toilet paper.

What they say
must be true:
I am smart, but I have a bad attitude.

No one knows
that I quit tonight,
maybe the mop
will push on without me Legal Alien
Bi-lingual, Bi-cultural,
Able to slip from “How’s life?”
To “Me’stan volviendo loca,”
able to sit in a paneled office
drafting memos in smooth English,
able to order in fluent Spanish
at a Mexican restaurant,
American but hyphenated,
viewed by Anglos as perhaps exotic,
perhaps inferior, definitely different,
viewed by Mexicans as alien,
(their eyes say, “You may speak
Spanish but you’re not like me”)
an American to Mexicans
a Mexican to Americans
a handy token
sliding back and forth
between the fringes of both worlds
by smiling
by masking the discomfort
of being pre-judged
Bi-laterally. Pat Mora (1942-) Latino: the term can be defined several different ways. In its widest sense, the term "Latino" can refer to anyone from or with roots in a culture in which a Latin-based language is spoken (Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, etc.). The term has also come to be used more narrowly for people from or with roots in Latin American countries, particularly those now living in the United States. In many circles it is preferred to "Hispanic."

Hispanic: This term may refer to people who can trace their cultural roots back to Spain. Thus while a Brazilian American might identify as "Latino," he or she would not be "Hispanic." Most Latino authors seem to prefer "Latino" to "Hispanic."

Latin American: Refers to those born in Latin American countries. For the purposes of this lecture, Latino authors are residents or citizens of the U.S. who primarily write in English; Latin American aurthors reside (primarily) in Latin America and write predominantly in French, Portuguese, or Spanish.

Chicano: Once an offensive term for the children of Mexican immigrants, the terms was reclaimed in the 1960s and is now one of pride. Today, the term denotes a person with Mexican heritage. Terms Gary Soto (1952-)
Mexicans Begin Jogging

At the factory I worked
In the fleck of rubber, under the press
Of an oven yellow with flame,
Until the border patrol opened
Their vans and my boss waved for us to run.
“Over the fence, Soto,” he shouted,
And I shouted that I was an American.
“No time for lies,” he said, and pressed
A dollar in my palm, hurrying me
Through the back door.

Since I was on his time, I ran
And became the wag to a short tail of Mexicans—
Ran past the amazed crowds that lined
The street and blurred like photographs, in rain.
I ran from that industrial road to the soft
Houses where people paled at the turn of an autumn sky.
What could I do but yell vivas
To baseball, to milkshakes, and those sociologists
Who would clock me
As I jog into the next century
On the power of a great, silly grin. Richard Rodriguez (1944-)

"Americans like to talk about the importance of family values. But America isn't a country of family values; Mexico is a country of family values. This is a country of people who leave home." –Rodriguez Julia Alvarez (1950-)

Woman’s Work

Who says a woman’s work isn’t high art?
She’d challenge as she scrubbed the bathroom tiles.
Keep house as if the address were your heart.

We’d clean the whole upstairs before we’d start
downstairs. I’d sigh, hearing my friends outside.
Doing her woman’s work was a hard art

to practice when the summer sun would bar
the floor I swept till she was satisfied.
She kept me prisoner in her housebound heart.

She’d shine the tines of forks, the wheels of carts,
cut lacy lattices for all her pies.
Her woman’s work was nothing less than art.

And, I, her masterpiece since I was smart,
was primed, praised, polished, scolded and advised
to keep a house much better than my heart.

I did not want to be her counterpart!
I struck out…but became my mother’s child:
a woman working at home on her art,
housekeeping paper as if it were her heart. Miguel Antonio Otero, Jr.
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