By Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak
Via a sequence of interviews with 9 acclaimed authors, Conversations with Mexican American Writers explores the languages and literature of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as a confluence of social, cultural, ancient, and political forces. of their conversations, those authors speak about their linguistic offerings in the context of language regulations and language attitudes within the usa, in addition to the East Coast publishing industry's mandates.The interviews exhibit the cultural and geographical marginalization continued through Mexican American writers, whose voices are muted simply because they produce literature from the remotest components of the rustic and approximately humans at the social fringes. Out of those interviews emerges a portrait of the borderlands as a dynamic area of foreign alternate, person who is located and will in basic terms be understood totally inside of an international context.
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Extra info for Conversations with Mexican American Writers: Languages and Literatures in the Borderlands
I had no shame about flunking as I had a permissive father. So my language was Spanish and then when I was ten, I adopted English. EMJ: You mentioned earlier that your initial associations with English were bad ones and that Ursuline nuns hung you by your braids and made you pronounce your name in English. You said that you thought that something inside of you would die when you spoke English. Could you tell us the story? MF: These were not the nuns that tied me by my braids; those were the Holy Name Sisters when I was ten years old and was in boarding school in Los Angeles.
I came back that summer in 1980 determined to do that and started writing. My education had nothing to do with it. It was a matter of urgency. I had to tell the story of Victor in First Confession. I had to tell the story of the great love a mother can have for her son in Dreams of the Centaur, and now I have to tell the story of how a woman refuses to be defeated, which is the story of my grandmother, and she’s the parent that I choose to claim. You know, there are my biological par ents, and I love them dearly, but the person who’s my parent is my maternal grandmother.
We’ve had leaders who were in on it from the trenches—Cherríe Moraga, Ana Castillo, all of these, and they are people who write in so many venues. We have translators, like Norma Cantú, who’s a tremendous translator and also a tremendous folklorist. I don’t know as much as they do. I was not part of this. I always went to Anglo private schools. If there were other Latinas, they were the Somoza grandchildren. But I’ve been instructed by people like Norma Cantú and Ana Castillo and María Elena Gaitán, who is a comedian, and Gronk, a painter, and the Chicano professors at Cal State.