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.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Art of Identity: Goat Tails and Doodlebugs by Everett Gee Jackson. A San Diego State University Press (SDSU Press) Release

Goat Tails and Doodlebugs is a classic tale of finding their roots. With all great artists comes a great beginning, Everett Jackson is no exception. He writes of his trials through childhood, which demonstrates his upbringing in search of his identity. Going as far as undecided gender and race, He slowly begins to gain an idea of who he is through his travels in Texas, Southern California, Northern Mexico, and South America. His book reads like a diary, detailing his experiences in border towns, daily life on the road with his partners, and the story of finding himself though art. With many trips to Mexico and South America, Jackson, is exposed to both the natural beauty of the countries as well as the hearts of the people that surround him. The landscape, culture, and its people become a major inspiration towards Jackson's artwork. 

Jackson's tale shows the growth of an artist through finding his roots and coming in touch with those around him. Through his experience he changed as an artist, find out more about Jackson and his works of art by following this link to purchase

Get the most up to date San Diego State University Press Blog by clicking here.

Also take a look at Jackson's Four Trips to Antiquity featured here

Disappearing Individualism and Cultural Identity: Four Trips to Antiquity by Everett Gee Jackson. A San Diego State University Press (SDSU Press) Release

Four Trips to Antiquity

The absorption of an original culture slowly dwindling down and disappearing much like the Mayan's last remaining artifacts slowly crumble and fade away with time. By pollution, weather, tourists, or the passing by drunk each takes a toll on what is left of the artifacts. Remaining cultures are destroyed much in the same way from being absorbed, wiped out or becoming influenced by western influence. Eventually the only proof of their existence will be the words upon a textbook page. 

Within Four Trips Jackson describes the heritage and peoples of the South American Indians and the problems they face, from explosions in the cities to how easily they are swayed based on empty promises from politicians. "Look at your feet. Why are you not wearing shoes? Other people wear shoes, but not you Indians...I looked down at my own feet. Neither was I wearing shoes I discarded them when I arrived in Copan and had put on guaraches instead, the kind of sandals worn by the Indians...making the Indians dissatisfied with their lot might assure him their favor and their vote" (64). Stores also begin to take advantage of the Indians by capitalizing off them who without care contribute to the pollution of the area, "But they left the plaza littered with empty Dr. Pepper bottles. Obviously the store which sold the drink knew in advance that the Dr. Pepper-drinking Indians were coming"(64). This results in further destruction of cultural identity

"[It] was a great misfortune one moonlit night when a drunk came walking along here he suddenly had a violent impulse. To relieve his anger he hurled a big rock, or perhaps an empty bottle, into the figures face...It had withstood many storms for over thirteen hundred years, and then a worthless drunk had to disfigure its face" (165). Much like the drunk, it does not take much to destroy a civilization that survived for so long on its own. Whether its disease, xenophobia, or war once civilizations are wiped out they cannot be brought back much like these statues. 

A Current example of this is the indigenous people of Hokkaido, Northern Japan. The Ainu people were seen as a pest after mainland Japan acquired Hokkaido around the early 1800's. They were introduced to new diseases and used in forced manual labor where many died. They were never seen as Japanese nor have they been even now. In 1984 the Ainu census was shown that there were 24,381 left in Hokkaido, which is slowly growing after their numbers fell as low as 15,969 in 1931. If they had not fought back so hard, it would have been the last of them just as it has been for many tribes and indigenous people. 

If effort is not made to conserve our ancient cultures, they will be nothing more than crumbling stone, and words they grace the pages of forgotten textbooks. We can only hope that the pieces will live on in his artwork his own form of conservation.  

Take a trip to antiquity by purchasing the book here.

Get the most up to date San Diego State University Press Blog by clicking here.

Also take a look at Jackson's other book Goat Tails and Doodlebugs, blogged about here

Feminism & Border Issues-- Theatrics or Reality?: In this Corner, Short Plays by Rosina Conde, Ignacio Flores De La Lama, Juan Rea, and Hugo Salcedo. A San Diego State University Press Release (SDSU Press)

Shattered relationships and broken hearts are forced into the boxing ring, spouses become opponents pinned against one another, within their cage called marriage they must accept their differences and reconcile, bitterly part ways, or stay trapped in the hell that they have ensnared themselves in. 

"In this Corner," consists of four short plays by Rosina Conde, Ignacio Flores De La Lama, Juan Rea, and Hugo Salcedo. The plays illustrate gender roles and feminism in marriage, breaking stereotypes, and conforming to society's vision of what marriage "must" be. 

While dating there is a  fight to keep the other within grasp, mutterings of sweet nothings defiling the air from the sordid serpents tongue. Money, lingers like dollar signs in the eyes for prestige is everything. Even pity and is used to trap one another's heart like the slow strangulation of wedding bells chimes. 

Gender roles are brought up to the forefront of the arguments in all three plays, each demonstrating its impact on a marriage. "But you shouldn't have left. You should have stayed with me even though I said not to, because your duty was to follow me even if I rejected you. (With scorn.) That is the duty of all women, to follow their men" (48). Marriage is often viewed as a one-sided fight for control, with the ideology that one spouse must lead the other. "HE: Yes. SHE: "Yes." Is that all you can say? HE: (After a pause.) Yes. SHE: Idiot" (11). Women fight back in these plays to demonstrate that they can lead the relationship.

Marriage, in these plays, demonstrates emotions that can arise after the vows have been taken. Jealousy, selfishness, oppression, coupled with the lies and deceit that accompany them. 

These four plays are a modern day Ibsen's version of "The Doll House," which gives the reader a modernly founded basis on the gender roles in marriage and relationships. When comparing back to Ibsen (and many others) we can see that even over hundreds of years that the gloves are still on in this telling book about the roles of marriage. 

Taking place in Tijuana, these boarder town casted plays can represent a modern take on US/Mexico Boarder issues. Who will dominate whom? Who has the "right" to lead or be led? Indulge in these multi-perspective plays. Leave us your comment below!

Order your copy by following this link, and read the most up to date blogs of San Diego State Press here.

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