Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review Roundup: April 8, 2012

Publisher’s Weekly reviews Fred Arroyo’s Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press, 2012).

Fred Arroyo, fiction writer and Letras Latinas Oral History Project interviewee, speaking (in this blog-post) of his novel The Region of Lost Names (Camino del Sol, 2008) and which chronicles the submerged stories of Puerto Rican and Cuban immigrants laboring at the Green Giant cannery in the region of Michiana—an intersection of sorts of northwestern Indiana and southern Michigan, said:

“I can remember as a child driving in a car out to Green Giant (I assume to pick-up my mother’s sister from work), and in the glass lobby being enchanted by the tall jolly Green Giant reaching to the ceiling, his body clothed in vines and leaves. As an adult, long after the cannery had closed, I would drive past and be filled with a loss in the face of those ruins. There were stories there—still lingering in the strong stench of manure from growing mushrooms that never went away—I wanted to listen to and write.”

And write he did. And now he has followed that story with a new novel, Western Avenue and Other Fictions. Fred Arroyo will be reading from this new work on October 4 at the campus of Notre Dame and visiting a class, “Migrant Voices,” where his work will be taught.  

This is what Publishers Weekly had to say:

Arroyo’s short stories depict the daily life of migrant workers in the U.S. struggling with identity and trying to find self-worth within the industrial world that thrives on their anonymity. Alternating between longer narratives and brief sensory glimpses of work, relationships, and memories, these stories confront characters with consistent bouts of failure, withering ambition, and separation from their homes and families. While the circumstances may differ, an overarching atmosphere of loneliness and longing comes to unify what at first seems disconnected.

Click HERE for the full review.


Rigoberto González reviews Harrison Candelaria Fletcher’s Descanso for my Father: Fragments of a Life (University of Nebraska Press, 2012).  

Rigoberto González most recent review is neither on a collection of poems or novel or book of short stories but rather on a book of essays, in which the author summons a “literary descanso, a piecing together—from moments and objects and words—of a father’s life, of the life lived without that father, and of his own mixed-race identity” and which González calls an “exquisite literary debut.” In addition, Rigoberto González will be reading in the next installment of Latino/a Poetry Now on October 10 at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN.

Here is what González had to say:

"Memorials were called descansos, the Spanish word for resting place," writes Harrison Candelaria Fletcher in "Descanso for My Father: Fragments of a Life" (University of Nebraska Press, $14.95 paperback). It's a statement made with some irony because these autobiographical essays chronicle a son's lengthy search for the story behind the face on a shrine, a man who died when the author was only a toddler.

Click HERE for the full review.


Justin Evans reviews Eduardo C. Corral’s Slow Lighting (Yale University Press, 2012).

Eduardo C. Corral, Latino/a Poetry Now featured poet, will be reading at the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. on September 19, a partnership between Letras Latinas and the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series. His Slow Lighting is reviewed here by Justin Evans of Name this Place. Many other reviews are sure to follow,

Here is what Evans had to say:

I wish I could avoid talking about contradictions in this quasi-review.  I wish I could give you a straightforward analysis of the poems and structure of the book, but my saying expansive and terse, elegiac an joyous are only a beginning at best.  I hesitate to say something superficial such as confessional, but these poems are so intimate and personal I find it difficult to ignore their immense presence as I think back on them.  Corral finds the most apt places in his poems to divulge this information, and much of what he reveals is hidden in the context of narration, which belies its significance until you are right on top of it.  By then it is too late.  You can do nothing to prepare yourself and you cannot deflect any of the impact.

Click HERE for the full review.


Carmen Giménez Smith reviews Roberto Tejada’s Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006) in issue 2 of Latino Poetry Review.

For CantoMundistas and enthusiasts of Latino/a letters alike here is another oldie-but-goodie from issue 2 of Latino Poetry Review,  Latino/a Poetry Now featured poet, Carmen Giménez Smith’s  review of Mirrors for Gold by Roberto Tejada. Roberto Tejada and Carmen Gimenez Smith will also be reading in the fourth installment of Latino/a Poetry Now, slated for April 25, 2013 at the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona.

Here is what Giménez Smith had to say:

In his first full-length collection, Mirrors for Gold, published in 2006 by Krupskaya Press, poet, translator and art critic Roberto Tejada examines the intersections of contemporary aesthetics and cultural legacy.

The first fragment, "daughter of whose work," might be a retort or an answer to a question, but both the reader and the she of the poem are left without the requisite context to decide. The poem plays further by leaving a gap between what connects the fertile flower to the vaguely awkward construction, "love's social / intellect." Inheritance—the daughter and the god emerging from a flower—introduce the book's concern with lineage. How does Tejada reconcile his own hybridized identity? From what tradition is he writing? And how does the setting of these poems, Mexico City, serve to traverse fissures between the ancient and the modern? The answer is found in the book's insistence on a consistent dynamism in form and diction.

Click HERE for the full review.


Unknown said...

Lauro, thank you for including me in the Review Round-Up. I'm honored. And looking forward to perhaps meeting at ND in October. Best, Fred

Unknown said...

Thanks for including me in the Review Roundup. Wonderful to hear of all these new books, and I'm honored to be in their company.

Lauro said...

Thank you. it is my pleasure.

Lauro said...

and a shout-out to oscar bermeo who conceived of the review roundup!