Essays and criticism appearing in Electric Literature, Remezcla, Bookforum, Christian Century and more
Walking Into the River | Electric Literature
“As the caravan of immigrants crossed the Usumacinta river that marks the border between Guatemala and Mexico, a Mexican police helicopter used the downdraft from its rotors to make waves rise on the river, to make the passage harder for the people walking North, away from violence. The Associated Press reported that because of the choppy water a man drowned in the river. From his bird’s eye view, the people on either side of the water must have seemed like ants to the pilot, barely people.” An essay on Virginia Woolf, bodies (of water) and finding our shared humanity. Read more.
six latinx-owned perfume brands you should know | Remezcla
You know you’re in the right kind of restaurant when it smells like your abuelita’s kitchen, and you would know you were walking into your second-grade best friends’ house with your eyes blindfolded. From the agua de colonia that would get splashed on your neck every morning before school to your mom’s fancy going-out bottle of Opium, scent is the sense that is perhaps most closely tied to memory – and bottled in the form of perfume. Read more.
Declaration | Guillotine
“I love that almost everyone who has chosen to stay at Our Lady Queen of Angels is a woman. And these Catholic women, they make do. One of them blesses each of the others in a tiny weekly sacrilegious act. They lead each other in song, tell each other the sermon, help each other interpret the words of the reading. They make their voices heard in the service. Their voices are the service.”: An essay on faith, family, resistance, & communion. Buy here.
Border Rites | Christian Century
There’s a spot at the edge of the continent where a wall plunges into the Pacific Ocean. The border wall between San Diego and Tijuana extends a good 50 feet out, far enough that you can see that if you tried to walk to its end, you’d end up past your depth. This portion of the wall has been there since the 1980s. If you drive east along it, farther into Tijuana proper, you’ll start seeing portions of the wall that have only been there since October and are already beginning to rust in the sea air. A literal line in the sand that’s been defended to the death, the starting point of an empire. Read More.
Review: Lost Children Archive | Americas Quarterly
Valeria Luiselli’s latest novel, Lost Children Archive, is cut from the politics of the moment. At its most intimate, the book tells the story of a family’s impending breakup on a road trip through the U.S. southwest. But the book, the Mexican author’s first novel written in English, is also about fragmentation in a broader, civic sense — using deportation and family separation policies under former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump as a touchstone. Read more.
Review: The Arid sky | Americas Quarterly
”This is the story of a man who, though he did not know it, was the era in which he lived.”
Thus begins Mexican novelist Emiliano Monge’s The Arid Sky, a tale that aims to reveal as much about a place and time — northern Mexico over the course of the 20th century — as it does about its protagonist, a rugged character named Germán Alcántara Carnero. Read More.
Naming Nature | Human x nature
Adam in the garden, Linnaeus and his scientific racism and colonial botany, and my own experiences, as a brown girl, of finding home in the plants of New England, and leaving it, and coming back to find it, or myself, altered—all through the names and naming of plants. I touch on climate change, the doctrine of signature and herbal healing, my body in nature, plants in myth and the Bible, and more. More information.
Who Art Absent | Self-Published
Taking Simone Weil’s meditation on the Lord’s Prayer as its source text, Who Art Absent translates a new text from it, turning meditation into prayer and the familiar strange. To order your own copy, send $5 and your address here.
Alternative Latinx Canon | Remezcla
If you’re a high schooler or college student, there’s a list of books and famous works you know you’re going to have to read at some point in your career. A Shakespeare play or two, some Hemingway or Faulkner, To Kill a Mockingbird so you can talk about how white people were nice enough to end racism. And these books are all great, and important to understanding the culture – white/Western/American culture that is. And while there’s some overlap between that and Latinx culture, what if you want to read the foundational texts of Latinidad? Read More.
Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How it Ends is a Must-read on the Central american Child migrant crisis | Remezcla
To some degree, the battle for immigrant rights is a battle for control of the narrative. In the last year, especially, the conversation has reached a fever-pitch, with Trump’s election the plausible result of years of threats that painted undocumented immigrants from Latin America and unsecured borders as a threat to national security and the American economy. These narratives compete with journalistic narratives of the realities of immigration, muddying the waters of immigration policy discussions and the desire for a more just country. More importantly, however, they obfuscate the truths of individual lives caught up in the spaces between borders. Read More.