Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birth of a Book: CANTO COSAS: vol. 3

Brenda Cárdenas


with an  Introduction by Juan Felipe Herrera

I title this post "Birth of a Book" because I just heard from Brenda Cárdenas in a voicemail that she has received her two advanced copies of Boomerang from Bilingual Press. Who remembers what that felt like: receiving in the post your book---being able to hold it in your hands your first book?  And so, I'm marking this moment for Brenda by letting readers of LETRAS LATINAS BLOG know that her book is in the world.

When I was first graced with the privilege and opportunity to edit CANTO COSAS (whose origin has its own meandering backstory), I never imagined I'd get a shot at helping usher this volume into print. I never thought it'd be available. But when I approached Brenda about it, she didn't hesitate in saying Yes---there was no delay nor measured calculation about whether this or that press was the right fit for her manuscript. Which is not to say that such deliberation is not merited: everyone has to forge their own way and do what's best for them. But Brenda, it seemed to me, was responding to the mutual history and collaboration we had already forged, and for that I feel blessed and am grateful.

I remember first encountering her work in the anthology she co-edited for MARCH/Abrazo Press, and then searching out more of  her work on the web. I was researching Latina poets in the Midwest for The Wind Shifts. Shortly thereafter, I approached her about publishing a chapbook with Momotombo Press. She was open to the idea and then Maria Melendez graciously stepped in, in her capacity as Associate Editor, and worked with Brenda to put together what would be become From the Tongues of Brick and Stone, which has been one of Momotombo Press' most physically attractive volumes to date, one which sold well and out and was adopted in many classrooms (Rich Yañez woud later play this role as well with Michelle Otero's Malinche's Daughter, Momotombo's best selling title).

So, readers, if you want to experience some of the best poetry around at this juncture in time, order Boomerang (Bilingual Press, 2009) by Brenda Cárdenas.

Finally, and with this I close, I can't underscore enough what a fine interview Brenda Cárdenas gave a few years ago with our Letras Latinas Oral History Project at Notre Dame. Maria Melendez was the interviewer and it was among the very best we've produced in the series. Have a listen. It's the fourth one down on the roster of seventeen interviews---after Richard Blanco and before Steven Cordova.


C.M. Mayo said...


Linda Rodriguez said...

Congratulations to Brenda and to you, Francisco.