New Border Voices: An Anthology

New Border Voices: An Anthology

New Border Voices: An Anthology

New Border Voices: An Anthology


When the "counter-canon" itself becomes canonized, it's time to reload. This is the notion that animates New Border Voices, an anthology of recent and rarely seen writing by Borderlands artists from El Paso to Brownsville--and a hundred miles on either side. Challenging the assumption that borderlands writing is the privileged product of the 1970s and '80s, the vibrant community represented in this collection offers tasty bits of regional fare that will appeal to a wide range of readers and students.
Among the contributions are:
A "Southern Renaissance" for Texas Letters
--José E. Limón

The Texas-Mexico Border: This Writer's Sense of Place
--Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

The Rain Parade
--Paul Pedroza


In 2011 a colleague interested in teaching a sophomore-level college literature seminar on the Texas/Mexico Borderlands invited me to coffee. He came to me, he said, “because you [meaning I] come from the Border and are a writer yourself.” In response, I rattled off the names of canonical border authors: Jovita González, Américo Paredes, John Rechy, Tom Lea, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Tomás Rivera, Gloria Anzaldúa, and a few other names, some collected in this anthology. He nodded politely and said of a few, “I’ve heard of them.” But then he asked me if I knew of any good anthologies from the Texas/Mexico Borderlands. This took some thinking.

“Recent or older?” I asked.

“Less than ten years old,” he replied.

I rubbed my chin, then named Luis Humberto Crosthwaite’s and John William Byrd and Bobby Byrd’s Puro Border: Dispatches, Snapshots, & Graffiti from the US/Mexico Border (Cinco Puntos Press, 2002), Don Graham’s Lone Star Literature: A Texas Anthology (Norton, 2003), and Dagoberto Gilb’s Hecho en Tejas (University of New Mexico Press, 2008). Encouraged by these mentions, my colleague asked me to suggest one. I hemmed and I hawed. Could I in good faith recommend any of them as both representative of the Borderlands and, for that matter, even representative of current transnational themes in American and Borderlands studies?

Puro Border is an excellent compilation of newspaper reports, interview transcripts, and oral tales but not necessarily proper for a sophomore literature class unless used to situate the Border’s place and experience. Lone Star Literature’s border section comes close to representing current trends in American studies’ transnationalism by presenting Anglo and Mexican authors (and I use these terms as forced monikers that run against the aims and current of New Border Voices’ mission), but I am hesitant to suggest students spend twenty dollars for a mere 144 pages of material. Then there’s Hecho en Tejas.

Hecho en Tejas is specifically collected to showcase Texas-Mexican literature and, though not inclusive of some of Texas’ most talented Mexican-descended authors, the anthology presents a strong table of contents. Hecho en Tejas’s . . .

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