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Showing posts from May, 2006

A First for DreamBones

DreamBones, a collection of poems by Shelia Campbell, which I edited and designed, has been awarded first place in Press Women of Texas' annual communications contest. The award is given every year to the editor of a trade book.

The judges wrote: "There is a great deal of imagination on display here. Campbell clearly shows promise as a poet and exhibits a knack for concise, effective imagery. De la Rosa is an effective editor who demonstrates equal talent and potential at her craft."

Four years' labor went into the organization and final book presentation of this collection. During that time, I never tired of reading these poems, even when that reading was a part of necessary work and not initiated for pleasure. In fact, re-reading these poems never felt repetitive. They remain: alive.

One of DreamBones' readers, Rosario Lázaro, wrote: "With each re-reading of these poems, I encounter more layers and shades of meaning--feelings displayed on fabric with pinpoint…

Of Englishes and Emilies

George Bernard Shaw remarked that Great Britain and the United States were two countries divided by a common language. I'm reminded of this most when an English English speaker (or in some cases an Australian English speaker) living in the U.S. tells me that Americans don't know how to speak "proper" English. This happens to me with strangers and non-strangers alike. Most notable among my experiences was a British librarian working in our local public library who told me she was suffering from not having enough good things to read in this country, while she stood surrounded by thousands and thousands of books. (I asked her if she had read any Doris Lessing lately. "No," she replied. "I'm not familiar with her.")

Having been told again, just last week, how "horrible" American English is, I've been giving the subject of multiple Englishes more thought than usual. It's a topic I like thinking about, one that usually makes me smil…

Feliz 5º de mayo y ¡Viva Max!

Out on a ride with Tom, you just don't know what silly thing you'll see.
Photo, Copyright 2006, Joe Goldblatt

On the eve of Cinco de mayo, the holiday that commemorates the Batalla de Puebla where the Mexicans routed their French occupiers, I think of Maximillian . . . not the ill-fated Emperor, but the name itself.

My high school Spanish class was the last class period of the day after P.E. I would dash in red-faced, hair flying, and plop in a seat in the back of the room next to my friend Tom: Ultra-cool Tom who drove a spotless Impala, rode horses, and had the quickest wit in school. One afternoon, Señora McCoy patiently explained Cinco de mayo to us and the story of Maximillian. The name caught our attention as nothing else had that afternoon. Tom looked at me with a blue-eyed grin and whispered, "Maximillian!" and I, sotto voce, quipped back, "You're welcome!" We dissolved in sheepish laughter, and from that day on, we had a new silly code.

A code to…

Esperando todavía . . .

The boycott has come and gone, with marches "a la marcha" in Chicago, Denver, Houston, and LA, and marches que se esfumaron in Dallas and Phoenix. Mucha solidaridad. Lots of closed businesses and restaurants. Lots of customers and workers staying home. Bien. ¿Y ahora qué? Como siempre, even in the best and most detailed media coverage, the heart of the matter went untouched. Nadie habla del gobierno de México y su propia responsabilidad para su propia gente.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 78 percent of immigrants residing in the U.S. without documentation are from México. That's 9.36 million souls, as the maps of old used to say. Time and again, we are told they come here to realize the "American dream," to seek "our better way of life." ¡Que no! They come because they cannot survive in their homeland. No one leaves their home and family behind to work as a day laborer except in the face of dire necessity. These immigrants do not come here on a …