Tuesday, June 28, 2016

UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility + The Utopian Vision: Seven Essays on the Quincentennial of Sir Thomas Moore

In an exploration of the human imagination and society, Thomas More’s Utopia allowed for a world that embodies a perfect and ideal society. Now, 500 years later, the British Library is celebrating the anniversary of the innovative novel through “A Year of Imagination and Possibility” at Somerset House in London through fashion, literature, theater, and other forms of art. 

The concept of a utopian society has been explored by many and can be seen through different theories and perspectives. E.D.S. Sullivan compiled more than 500 works on utopia in The Utopian Vision, a collection of contemporary literature that can be read and understood by anyone who seeks to explore utopian ideals.

A calendar of The Year of Imagination is available at the Somerset House

EL PUNTO CIEGO, Visual Poetry from Argentina

Alberto Hidalgo. Jaqueca, 1923
EL PUNTO CIEGO / THE BLIND SPOT—Argentina's visual poetry revealed. 

EL PUNTO CIEGO is a collection of poems from Argentina covering poets and artists  from the 1920s to present. These are not just poems written in Spanish—they are visual poems.  They transcend language and the restrictions of textual poetry.  You don’t need to know Spanish to appreciate this book.  Poetry is no longer restricted by language. 

Oliverio Girondo. Espantapárajos, 1932

EL PUNTO CIEGO has some of the most important Argentinian poets and artists of the last century while covering various genres.  This anthology contains both styles of poetry: textual and visual. It is a beautiful collection of visual poetry from Argentina that has been in the the blind spot of the eye. The poets and artists are breaking barriers of communication. Their work can reach people of all languages. Because visual poetry breaks the langauge barrier, it is important to put the work from these artists in the forefront of art and literature. 

EL PUNTO CIEGO includes work from Alberto Hidalgo, Oliverio Girondo, Xul Solar, Carmelo Arden Quin, Alejandro Sirio, Alberto Greco, León Ferrari and Mirtha Dermisache, Edgardo ANtonio Vigo, Luis Pazos and Juan Carlos Romero, Marie Orensanz, Susana Fernández Sachaos, Ivana Martinez Vollaro, Luis Felipe Noé, plus many more.

Susana Fernández Sachaos. Escrito en el Cuerpo, 2007

There are two editions to this Anthology of visual poetry.


Friday, June 10, 2016


Enrique Morones once embarked on the same journey across the border into the United States that thousands of migrants cross every year. "The Migrant Trail" or the most traveled trail for migrants coming from Mexico leads into Arizona through a long and grueling trek through the desert. In Border Angels: The Power of One, Morones writes about his experience on the trail in 2008, and although he calls it an "activity that has strengthened me and many others," it is a difficult and dangerous journey to embark on. Morones and his fellow activists quickly realized that survival on the trail needed strategy. They had 12 hour days that required a good pace and accurate timing, and in the end, some needed medical attention to be hospitalized. Now, eight years later, Border Angels activists continue to embark on the same trail, this time to drop gallons of waters for the immigrants who will attempt to cross the border every day.

There will be another water drop on Saturday, June 18th, with over 100 members already participating. To participate, please RSVP by emailing volunteer@borderangels.org.

There will also be a dinner coming up this November to grant thanks and appreciation to the activists, sponsors, and successes of Border Angels. As Morones documented in Border Angels: The Power of One, Border Angels has worked to advocate for social justice in the lives of travelers and undocumented workers. Morones has battled against politicians, traveled across the nation, and helped the poor wherever he could find them. His organization has been an inspiration to people such as Dave Rivas, a San Diegan actor, voice-over actor, director and playwright who will be performing at the Border Angels dinner this November.                                                                                                           In order to attend and participate in any Border Angels upcoming events or to become a "guardian angel" and donate to the inspirational organization, contact Enrique Morones at enrique@borderangels.org or visit their website.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Mourning Dove's Short Stories

 “This volume is a product Morning Dove’s intense interest in her people’s past.”

Considered to be the first Native American woman novelist, Mourning Dove represents the Okanagan people of the Pacific Northwest thorough the folklore found in her short stories. These stories reveal the history of the Okanagan and the early life of Mourning Dove. As an intense listener, she absorbed these stories and memorized them. The stories found in this book provide insight into a culture from the Pacific Northwest that is rarely mentioned. This book serves a cultural and historical piece for the Okanagan people and Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest.

“These stories are rich in culture, wisdom and meaning.”

Like always, the SDSU Press never fails to represent the people that are almost forgotten and lost. Tap into some of the earliest American literature with this wonderful collection. 

This book can be purchased here

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


Poetry International is one of the oldest and most respected literary journals in the world with notable contributors such as Adrienne Rich, Amir Saadi Yousseff, and Carolyn Forche. Their poetry spans across nations from Mexico to Chile to Cuba to broadcast poetics from around the world.

Their latest Ibooks for their Spring editions of the Poetry International Chapbook Series have been released and are linked below through PDF and epub format:

Illusions of the Modern Era                                                               Recombinant

In addition to the annual journal, Poetry International also hosts two poetry contests: The Poetry International Prize and The C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize that welcome poetic submissions for potential publication.

Their archive and subscription options can be accessed through the Poetry International Store


Monday, April 18, 2016

A Baja California Indian Community

William D. Hohenthal, Jr.’s Tipai Ethnographic Notes is a wonderful text on the native people of San Diego County and Baja California.  It dives into and explores every aspect of the Tipai history and culture. Hohenthal has laid the foundation for the research of the almost forgotten Tipai. Considering that this part of California's history was almost forgotten, this book is incredibly valuable for the appreciation and understanding of the Tipai.

Since this text is fantastic collection of ethnographic notes on the Tipai, it serves as an excellent scholarly source for research. The notes are organized into beautifully researched sections: natural environment, settlements, substance, social life, law and government, etc. If you're interested in San Diego’s ancient past or you need an excellent source for research, this book will quench your thirst for knowledge.

Kristi Phillips' wonderful piece on the growing interest of the Kumeyaay.

There is an ongoing exhibit at the San Diego
 Museum of Man, Kumeyaay: Native Californians

Buy your copy here

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

AND THE WINNER IS...A Modern Day Version of Who's Afraid of Virgnia Woolf: "in this corner...." Short Theatrical Pieces by Rosina Conde, Ignacio Flores De La Lama, Juan Carlos Rea, and Hugo Salcedo

The short plays presented in the book, in this corner...  absorbs the raw world of Mexican dynamics between spouse and spouse. All action occurs within a boxing ring and the book underlies, like uppercuts, what it means to be married in Mexican relationships with comical precision that land more than just punches.

The writers: Rosina Conde, Ignacio Flores de la Lama, Juan Carlos Rea, and Hugo Salcedo - don't throw sucker punches to our characters but to the struggles of both relationship power and miscommunication while exemplifying them in the open space of a physical boxing ring.

The dialogue between our characters in their different stories, supplement what's needed to address martial issues of younger and older generations in an overall dissection of failing relationships complemented by the current socioeconomic disparity among Mexican American's in the southwest.  


"SHE (fed up.) About our 33 years?
HE: Yes.
SHE: Haven't you said enough? You're going to far. What is it you want? You're bothering me What're you getting at?"
HE: I…I…don't know.."

Like a modern day version of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the characters "SHE" constantly belittles and tests the patience of her husband of 33 years "HE." The critically acclaimed play and film manifests marriage mayhem as Taylor attacks and verbally abuses her passive aggressive beau in a seemingly dark and dangerous game. 

Name calling, potential divorce conversations, and other taboo subjects that have been shielded behind bedroom doors are written in an accurate and comical fashion - to help us readers remember that these spouses,  who are our mothers and fathers, were in love at one time or another and in hopes with satire, that their humanity does not become distraught by ceaseless stereotypes.

in this corner…will take the reader into a revised edition of Taylor and Burton's masterpiece as it embarks on a look into Mexican marriages and the humor, the passion, and overall the comedy that can be located in arguments that sometimes can resemble a boxing match. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FIRST PEOPLE--KUMEYAAY ON KPBS + SDSU Press Books on the Kumeyaay of Southern California and Baja California: Geralyn Hoffman and Lynn Gamble’s A Teacher's Guide to Historical and Contemporary Kumeyaay Culture & William D. Hohenthal, Jr.’s Tipai Ethnographic Notes: A Baja California Indian Community at Mid-Century

"To the beginning of time" takes on a different meaning when referring to San Diego county and Northern Baja, California. In this case, it comes from the first true San Diegans, otherwise known as the Kumeyaay (also known as the Tipai-Ipai, Kamia, or Diegueño). KPBS' Emmy-nominated film First People - Kumeyaay  explores Kumeyaay culture with probing insight into their nation(s), located throughout the county of San Diego and in the north of Baja, California. There has been substantial interest in this native community, whose legacy and cultural identity cannot be neglected when thinking about the people and history that constitute modern San Diego/Baja culture.  Here is a teaser from the new documentary:

SDSU Press has been committed to documenting the myriad complexities of the Kumeyaay and other Native American nations for decades.  Two publications, still in print, and now on sale via our Amazon.com virtual bookstore are particularly salient:

A Teacher's Guide to Historical and Contemporary Kumeyaay Culture (A Supplemental Resource for Third and Fourth Grade Teachers) written by Geralyn Hoffman and Lynn Gamble, invites the reader to become one with the Kumeyaay Nation and delve into their modern culture. Gamble's interest and publications on a wide variety of topics from the Chumash Indians to the origin of the plank canoe allows for an insightful and in depth approach to the Kumeyaay culture.

Additionally, William D. Hohenthal, Jr. takes the reader back into history in Tipai Ethnographic Notes: A Baja California Indian Community at Mid-Century. This dynamic and enlightening book recreates the past through their ancient traditions, ethnographic info, and Tipai accounts of material culture, complete with a map that reveals elusive and dormant trails for the reader to explore.

Monday, March 07, 2016

SDSU PRESS LECTURE CO-SPONSOR!!! VIVIENDO LA HERENCIA DEL CIMARRON: RAZA Y REBELION EN CUBA Living the legacy of the Cimarron: Race and Rebellion in Cuba | Monday, March 7th, 2016 | Time: 5:30 PM Where: Storm Hall West 011 (Behner Auditorium)

Today is the day!

We invite you to a special conversation with Ms. Georgina Herrera, Cuban poet and writer for radio, television and film. Dr. Norma Iglesias will interview Ms. Herrera about her experiences prior to, during and after the Revolution and how race has been historically shaped and expressed over time. In addition, we have secured the renowned Cuban drum and dance group, Omo Ache, to perform after the talk.

The event will take place in Spanish but we will provide simultaneous translation. Please bring a phone and headphones if you would like the translation service.

Her books will be available for sale at the event.

This is a very special occasion for us, and we hope you'll join in welcoming this wonderful guest from Cuba.

Monday, March 7th at 5:30 pm
Storm Hall West 011, Behner/Steifel Auditorium
Flyer Attached

Border Angels: The Power of One

"How could it be possible that the wealthiest country in the history of the world allowed the very people who picked our food, took care of our children, and built our homes to live in canyons without shelter, running water, or electricity?" - Enrique Morones

Award winning author, activist, and director of the organization Border Angels, Enrique Morones, brings awareness of his experience in working with undocumented workers and travelers in their efforts to cross the United States/ Mexico Border in Border Angels: The Power of One. Morones has worked alongside fellow substantial and influential activists such as Roberto Martinez, Mar Cardenas, and Dolores Huerta to fight against corruption, such as police brutality and vandalism, within the Mexican community.

Border Angels swiftly navigates through Morones' experiences as an activist, beginning with a letter he received from Juana Navarro, a mother of a young man who died while attempting to cross the border into the United States. Her powerful letter expresses her deep sorrow at his death, representing the emotions and feelings of many other parents who have lost children while they set out to enter into a country for opportunities.

Morones raises questions about the personal and the political as he battles against politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger who was at a Chargers game while a fire threatened to kill Mexican migrants that were living in the San Diego hills. "They won't leave because law enforcement is working with the Border Patrol. They shouldn't have to worry about their immigration status right now, and the ones who are in their apartments are scared to leave them because you have checkpoints set up to check their IDs, and they don't have IDs because you won't pass the drivers license bill." This powerful conference and debate between the governor at the time and Morones questions the attention and support that is provided to Mexican migrants from the government. How long would it take for migrants from any country to enter and live in the United States when U.S. immigration laws have insufficient visas to meet the migration demand? What are the backlogs of available visas provided doing to families that have been separated for 20 years? And for how many deaths are these laws responsible for?

Border Angels not only asks these compelling questions, but demands an answer to them. However, the emphasis is not only focused on the negative experiences within the community of migrants, Morones also incorporates the positive outreach that he has done in the Latino community. For example, the San Diego Padres worked with Morones and successfully increased the Latino fans from 50,000 to 800,000 over a six year period. This event came at a time when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect and negatively impacted agribusinesses for small famers in Mexico. This event was a substantial and joyous moment in Morones activism and had a positive effect in the Latino community.

Border Angels allows the reader to experience both the negative and positive events that occurred during his time as an activist to show the social justice that he has achieved on a community in a time when they desperately needed his bravery.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Laughing Matters: Conversations on Humor

In Laughing Matters (special edition)Ilan Stavans and Frederick Luis Aldama explore the meanings of laughter and humor through a series of funny, insightful conversations. The conversations focus on how laughter functions as a social tool. They also explore what laughter represents in different social situations. As it states in the preface, “our inability to tickle ourselves tells us about the psycho-social-implications of laughter.” Meaning that humor is not the only source for laughter. We laugh for various reasons. Many have to do with the social situations where humor might not even be present. Why do we want to laugh when social interactions become awkward? Why do we internalize our humor instead of saying all the jokes that come to mind?  

The book consists of five different chapters—the chapters function as shifts between the conversations dealing with different views on what laughter represents and what humor represents. The book opens with a clear summary to their themes and main points. The first chapter consists of funny exchanges between Aldama and Stavans on the sources of humor. They discuss the way humor is represented in media, art, and philosophy. The second chapter discusses ridicule—this chapter weaves their ideas of ridicule through religion, death, Cervantes, Plato, and several other subject matter. They dissect what they personally find funny as an attempt to understand why they laugh. Stavans then proves his expertise on Don Quixote of La Mancha. In this chapter, they discuss the issues with translating humor between cultures, race, and language. Chapter four introduces several ideas about jokes and why we laugh at them. They discuss the issues of racism  and prejudices found in jokes. Do we always have to be politically correct when it comes to jokes? Not always… especially, if you do a good job with the joke. They discuss what humor does to film and, again, talk about the issues with humor translating between languages and cultures. They provide concrete, relevant examples for the translation of humor. An informative discussion occurs on films like Casa de mi padre and Machete. Why was it so hard for people to find Casa de mi padre funny? Because its humor didn’t translate to the American audience. As Aldama argues, unless you are familiar with telenovelas or Mexploitation, then many of the jokes are going to go over your head (Video Clip of Aldama discussing Mexican filmmakers in the U.S. on MSNBC). The closing chapter dives into of taboo subjects and what might just be too offensive.They contemplate these issues and consider the consequences from offensive humor.

“Humor is a breather. It interrupts life as routine.”

If you are anything like me, you might have a hard time internalizing your laughter. I find myself laughing constantly making a joke out of pretty much anything. This book shed some light on what the laughter might represent. For me, the more uncomfortable the situation, the more I joke around. The more stress I have in my life, the more I find myself laughing with other people. Laughter is a social activity. It feels best around others. The conversations in Laughing Matters are loaded with different views on humor and laughter. Stavans and Aldama don’t leave any funny stone unturned. If you are curious how humor and laughter function in art, literature, and media, this book will answer all your questions. You will laugh and not cry… well, maybe tears of laughter. 

Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. 

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at the Ohio State University. 

There are two editions to Laughing Matters:

Special Limited Edition Volume

Regular Trade Edition 

John Steinbeck's Enduring Voice for California

When considering the canon, which American author comes to mind? For most Californians, this is author is John Steinbeck. He captured an image of California that is still completely relevant today. When considering why Steinbeck is a voice for California, we must think of Salinas, CA. Salinas represents all the hard labour that is found in California’s agriculture industry. This labour ripples through generations for Californians—it represents the issues with culture and race. 

Homer from Salinas is a wonderful collection of lectures, screenings, debates, discussions, and visual artifacts from incredibly insightful people. This celebration for Steinbeck's work was held from April to May in 2007 at SDSU. The book is organized into four parts—each part with several pieces that are on different themes dealing with issues such as labour, race, and class.  Most of Steinbeck’s work is covered in this collection. What is most important, is that this collection explores the relevancy of his work and what it means for Californian culture. Part Two of the book has discussions about Mexican-American culture. Hernán Moreno-Hinojosa describes his challenges with Steinbeck, but also praises him for writing about all minorities, not just Mexicans or people displaced by the dustbowl. He also discusses the parallels between his own writing to Steinbeck’s. It is discussions like this one that are found in this collection that illustrate the impact of Steinbeck’s writing to all minorities. What these discussions provide, are new insights from a set of diverse thinkers. This diversity is explored in Part Three, “Watching Steinbeck’s Ethnic Eye.” Different scholars raise different points about the ethnicity in Steinbeck’s work. The collections ends with a presentation on an exhibition that includes Horace Bristol’s photography. The exhibition documents California’s farm labor experience. The presentation goes into great detail about the migrant laborers of California. 

I, personally, come from a family of immigrants and I have family members that worked in agriculture. They traveled constantly up and down the California coast: Salinas, Monterey, Guadalupe, etc. When I read Steinbeck, I consider everything my family went through once they got to California. Whether you’re a Mexican-American or a Californian, Steinbeck’s work is more than worth reading. This collection proves that Steinbeck is still completely relevant when talking about present-day issues. So if you’re a Steinbeck scholar or want a new perspective into Steinbeck’s work, get your hands on this wonderful collection. 

This collection includes pieces by Jeffery Charles, Charles Wollenberg, William Deverell, Francisco X. Alarcón, Hernán Moreno-Honjosa, plus many more. 

The book can be found for purchase here

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Adapting Activities For Therapeutic Recreation Service: Concepts and Applications By Jesse Dixon

Author, Jesse Thomas Dixon, delivers a fun, creative, and interactive book on creating toys and learning devices that are adaptive to children’s disabilities. From a table tennis ball retriever to a one handed fishing reel, readers will find in creativity and range of these convenient ideas. Some of these ideas includes a self-retrieving table tennis ball device and a one handed fishing reel.


A general qualm special-needs classrooms have is that there is a limited amount of activities their students can participate in. Answering that call, this book offers a resourceful catalogue of activities for students of the physically impaired. For a valuable and extensive critical look into the variety of activities this book illustrates, check out Jesse Dixon’s contribution to social welfare Adapting Activities For Therapeutic Recreation Service:Concepts and Applications.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews by Daniel A. Olivas

Daniel A. Olivas’ Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews provides a fascinating, penetrative look at the Latino/a writer’s perspective and the creative process by compiling a collection of Olivas’ own writing and a collection of his interviews with other Latino/a writers. By the end, the reader will have explored a multitude of topics concerning cultural inclusion/exclusion and the Latino/a experience, all the while digging ever deeper into what it means to be a writer and how that work comes to be.

First come Olivas’ own essays.  This collection creates a kaleidoscopic montage of moments and musings on why writing is something that Olivas cannot not do and how his particular perspective, as a writer, lawyer, Latino is both singular and universal; it is his own, but it is also all of ours. His themes are more than just cultural. They are about identity and history and how we find ourselves situated in the world.  In “Still Foreign Correspondent” he explains that his writings “…though reflecting on my cultural experiences, nonetheless focus on universal themes such as love, family dynamics and life’s struggles.  In other words, I use fiction to confront the vagaries of the human condition.”  This universality of experience is engaging and unifying, showing us that individual experience is not a disconnected, relativistic thing but a part of a larger whole, an opportunity to see how we all have something to contribute. All experiences are valid and they matter, and Olivas’ love for writing inspires readers to acknowledge it as something that is worth sharing.  His detailing of his creative process throughout these essays illustrates and inspires. A particularly excellent example comes in the essay “Writers Write. Period” where he emphasizes, “A writer finds time to write regardless of hectic schedules, energetic children, and needy lovers. No excuses.” He will then prove this point in the second half of the book, by interviewing other Latino/a writers.

This second part of the book demonstrates what it means to be a writer and the work that it takes to establish that role.  His interviews of many well-known Latino/a writers continue his project of highlighting the creative process and shared experiences.  One of the most fascinating notes comes from Olivas’ Introduction asks the reader to remember that “the responses are frozen in time. That is to say, the authors would not give precisely the same answers today.”  This reminder gives each writer’s interview an emphatic resonance, offering a snapshot of the writer in a particular moment, emphasizing the importance of change and evolution of their work.

Keeping this in mind when reading the interviews from writers like Sandra Cisneros, Aaron Michael Morales, and Reyna Grande, allows us to see the writer’s voices as not indicative of their entire writing philosophy, but as an experience shared in order to contribute to the larger community.  It bridges the two sections of the book with the theme of a collective and communal experience created from individual stories.  The interviews focus on the where the call to arises and how each writer answers that call in their own way. The effect, by the end of the interview section, is a sense of a writer’s writer, finding a way to give voice and agency to others and ultimately build a community created by and shaped through the shared experience of writing and how that experience is lived and worked in different ways by each of these writers.

Things We Do Not Talk About is more than a title—it’s a challenge.  Olivas’ project digs deep into the things we believe we “just do.” He asks his interviewees to dive into their creative process and how they find themselves situated in the world as writers and as part of the Latino/a community, while his own essays reveal the work of writer digging into the experiences that shape him (and us) and how that connects to a larger, shared experience. The end result inspires readers to accept the challenge.  What things do you not talk about? What would we gain from having that conversation? Olivas promises that it would be a worthwhile endeavor.

Things We Do Talke About is available from the SDSU Press story on Amazon here.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Naturalist Poetry: Defining Our Lives— Permanent Work: Poems 1981-1992. A San Diego State University Press (SDSU Press) Literature Release

Permanent Work: Poems1981-1992 by Gabriel Trujillo Muñoz details how inspiration can be found in all things, no matter how small, nor how much something is taken for granted that when taken apart it becomes more beautiful. Whether to observe the actions of humans or the nature that they are surrounded by; Muñoz paints us a vivid picture with carefully chosen words to give a new perspective of the world.

Time is something that affects all living creatures, slowly chipping away at life, incidentally, however, this decay adds to the beauty of creation. With new life comes death, followed by decay, loss, and loneliness. Muñoz shares these emotions with so few of words, painstaking, carefully, perfectly chosen without muddling the overall ideology or naturalistic tendencies of the work.  "The world/ Offers itself/ And reverberates/ My eyes/ Perceive/ The clarity of each object" (Dawn, 11).His work transcends a sense of surrealism, this helps Muñoz grasp the details of the surroundings, taking them apart, bit by bit, and in doing so, he exemplifies its beauty.

Life is intertwined and tangled with so many constraints, "The chaos/ To which all living beings/ Belong" (49) we all affect one another, and influence our surroundings without a conscious effort. Simply living is enough create, destroy, and stagnate. "Who am I/ To die now/ To live now/ That everything is over" (12). A progression of human life can be summarized in so few of words with such accuracy, how difficult it can be to continue to go on as strongly as before with the same positive mindset. 

Muñoz shows us how our lives are our own to create and lead them through our choices, "I am the alchemist who transforms/ The basest metals into glowing gold" (41). Only with our own hands can we choose worth of our existence. Only the owner of their own life can weigh their worth. 

To read more of PermanentWork: Poems 1981-1992 follow the link to purchase.

Read the latest San Diego State University Press Blog release here.