Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists

By Frederick Luis Aldama | Go to book overview

Lucha Corpi

Born in 1945 in Jáltipan, Mexico, Lucha Corpi grew up in a small town enveloped by rich tropical sounds. As a child she heard more than the noises of birds and animals: she heard the syncopated rhythms of people speaking Zapotec and Spanish. She was especially attentive to her grandmother’s voice as she would recount stories to young Corpi (along with her eight siblings) of grand adventures and bygone eras.

Before becoming a writer, Corpi trained variously to become a concert pianist, a dentist, and a teacher. Playing the piano was her great passion, but just before she was to enter Mexico City’s famous music conservatory, her father strong-armed her into studying dentistry. In defiance, Corpi not only stopped playing the piano (the sounds of which her father greatly enjoyed) but also took the first opportunity to distance herself from her father’s reach. In 1964, she married a man who was on his way to study at the University of California, Berkeley. By the early 1970s, she realized that she wanted more than to be a housewife. She divorced her husband, enrolled at Berkeley for a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature, and began to write poetry. To make ends meet and help support her daughter as a single mother, she also began teaching English as a Second Language.

Poetry became an important creative outlet for Corpi. It was through poetry that she was able to understand better the tensions between being raised a Mexican Catholic, with rigidly defined gender roles, and working as an educated, single mother in the United States. In 1976, Corpi published her first poems in a collection titled Fireflight. She wrote in Spanish and used a formal, short-line verse to express the deep conflicts and emotion

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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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