Dispatches from Spain 2: Salamanca

Some cities are distinctly literary. Buenos Aires springs to mind. It has the largest number of bookshops per capita of any major city and was home, at least for a while, to Borges, Ocampo, Cortázar, and Neruda. Of course there’s also London, Paris, and New York. Slightly less famous is Salamanca. Roaming around for a…

“Abbott” by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, and Jason Wordie

In the opening panels of this graphic novel, we’re introduced to a heroine so heroic, sassy, and cool she makes J-Lo look like Mickey Mouse. She’s a black, bisexual, chain-smoking, brandy-swigging reporter. She has the swagger of a supermodel and she represents pretty much everything good that came out of the Sixties: civil rights, women’s…

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” – Happy 50th Birthday

Gabriel García Márquez’s novel was published 50 years ago. It’s widely recognized as the masterpiece of 20th century Latin American literature – some would say all of 20th century literature. It’s the book that ushered in the Latino Boom, the ascension of Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Julio Cortázar to the world stage….

“All They Will Call You” by Tim Z. Hernandez

In 1948 there was a plane crash in Los Gatos Canyon, California. In the plane were 28 undocumented Mexican workers who were being deported, and four Whites – the pilot, co-pilot, stewardess, and immigration agent. Nobody survived. The papers carried the names of the four Whites, but the Mexicans at first went nameless. The Whites…

The Black Renaissance

A new Black Renaissance is dawning right now. Our literature is stronger than ever. Those great, great writers who came before us all have their heirs. For James Baldwin, read Ta-Nehisi Coates. For Ralph Ellison, read Colson Whitehead. For Zora Neale Hurston, read Toni Morrison. They aren’t like-for-like, but our modern black writers are hugely…

“American Tumbleweeds” – by Marta Elva

Those of us living on or near the Mexican-American border know the themes by rote. We feel, hear, and see the dichotomies every day: the interplay of Spanish and English; the struggles between the old (Mexican tradition) and the new (North American brutalism); the familial ties loosened in the quest for a better life across…

“The Lost City of the Monkey God” by Douglas Preston

Douglas Preston’s new book is part memoir, part adventure, all thrills. The tale concerns a 500-year-old mystery in the heart of Honduras. For half a millennium, rumors have existed of the ruins of an ancient civilization hidden beneath the rain-forest, named the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Preston recounts the…

J Journal

The latest edition of the awesome J Journal – New Writing on Justice – is out. The Fall 2015 edition contains my poem “Police Report on the Death of a Black Man.” I wrote this poem for Black History Month in 2015 and performed it with the Poet Laureate of Silver City and Grant County, Elise…

RIP E. L. Doctorow, Jan 6, 1931 – July 21, 2015

E. L. Doctorow. A hell of a writer. Not familiar with his work? Read Ragtime. His fictional characters mingle with the likes of Henry Ford, Booker T. Washington, and Harry Houdini. It’s a great novel, and Doctorow was a true New York original, now gone to the great melting pot in the sky. RIP, Edgar…