Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists

By Frederick Luis Aldama | Go to book overview

Alfred Arteaga

Alfred Arteaga was born in 1950 and was raised mostly by his mother in East Los Angeles. At a young age, he discovered he had a keen ear for poetic rhythms and lyrical lines, so as soon as he had the means, he took up the guitar. He started playing in a band in his teens. In the late 1960s, Arteaga put his musical career on the back burner to turn his attention fully to poetry. Narrowly missing the Vietnam draft, Arteaga worked in the Los Angeles coroner’s office, which not only allowed him to support himself, but also gave him time to work on his craft as a poet. Though disciplined enough to read other poets and experiment with forms and voices, Arteaga knew that he would need more formal training if he wanted to become the abstract, metaphysical poet he intended to be. So he applied and was admitted to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he earned a B.A. in “Aesthetic Studies” in 1972. Feeling the need for more formal training, he went on to earn an M.F.A. from Columbia University (1974). After a long stretch working at community colleges by day and writing poetry by night, he returned to the University of California, Santa Cruz, to earn a Ph.D. in literature (1987). He has taught creative writing and Chicano/a literature at the University of California, Berkeley, ever since.

Self-fashioned as a Chicano metaphysical poet, Arteaga uses such poetic forms as free verse and prose poems to explore the experience and formation of being in language, space, and time. He abstracts everyday run-ins with love and grief, exclusion and inclusion, confinement and liberation, melancholy and ecstasy, to creatively probe the complexities of existence.

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Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Introducing a Second Wave of Chicano/a Visual/Verbal Artists 1
  • Francisco X. Alarcón 37
  • Alfred Arteaga 53
  • Ricardo Bracho 69
  • Denise Chávez 79
  • Lucha Corpi 95
  • Dagoberto Gilb 107
  • Jaime Hernandez (of Los Bros Hernandez) 119
  • Juan Felipe Herrera 129
  • Richard Montoya (of Culture Clash) 143
  • Pat Mora 153
  • Cherríe Moraga 167
  • Alejandro Morales 177
  • Michael Nava 187
  • Daniel Olivas 199
  • Cecile Pineda 215
  • Lourdes Portillo 227
  • Luis J. Rodríguez 235
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz 251
  • Luis Alberto Urrea 261
  • Alfredo Véa Jr 277
  • Alma Luz Villanueva 287
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