Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists

By Frederick Luis Aldama | Go to book overview

Dagoberto Gilb

Dagoberto Gilb was born in Los Angeles in 1950 and was raised by his Mexican single mother. In high school, he worked in an industrial laundry, in a warehouse as a shipping clerk, and as a graveyard shift janitor. During college, he worked as a stock boy and a salesman in department stores. After his college years, he became a professional carpenter. He spent his days breathing cement dust and nailing forms as a journeyman union carpenter working on high-rises in and around Los Angeles. His desire to become a published writer transformed his life as a working-class Chicano into something bigger than himself.

In the early 1980s, Gilb sent a short story to The Threepenny Review. Much to his joy, the magazine’s editor, Wendy Lesser, wrote him back quickly saying she loved his work, and she began to publish his short fiction regularly. Gilb’s work began to take shape as a collection, and he soon won his first literary prize in California, the James D. Phelan Award. Gilb moved with his family to El Paso, and there the newly formed Cinco Puntos Press received a grant to publish his work. In 1985, Winners on the Pass Line reached a wide audience, and so did his Chicano working-class protagonists (from plumbers and carpenters to mechanics) and their everyday experiences on and off the job site. In one of these early stories, “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” we learn the complex reasons why the Chicano character Sal puts up with a racist, unskilled Anglo foreman. In 1993 the University of New Mexico Press published The Magic of Blood—a collection that adds twenty or so stories to Winners and includes even more working-class Chicano characters. After the success of The Magic of Blood (winner of the PEN/Hemingway

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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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