Spilling the Beans in Chicanolandia: Conversations with Writers and Artists

By Frederick Luis Aldama | Go to book overview

Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Urrea was born in Tijuana, Mexico, on August 20, 1955, and spent his early childhood there. After his father’s early death, he spent his remaining childhood and teenage years living with his mother in San Diego. Urrea learned to cope with the harsh realities of living in a San Diego barrio filled with violence and crime by spending hours after school reading, writing, and composing rock music. Such interests—along with a caring high school teacher— eventually helped pave the way to college. After receiving a B.A. in English from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1977, he began working for relief organizations along the Mexican border. While he had already won recognition in college for his creative writing, he continued to work primarily with the relief organizations for ten years. During this period he kept scrupulous record of daily events, and this material would later feed into his first publication. To have the time to write this book, however, Urrea knew that he had to change to working in a profession that allowed time for writing. He secured a job teaching expository writing at Harvard University (1982 –1986), where he was able to hone his craft as a writer and discover what would become his signature style: a poetic, razor-edged voice that cut through the skeins that mask reality. In 1993 Anchor Books published Across the Wire: Life and Hard Times on the Mexican Border to great critical acclaim. Here Urrea combined fact and fiction to recount with brutal honesty the lives of border peoples living across the wire and their struggle to survive absolute poverty. He followed this with another docujournalistic book, By the Lake of Sleeping Children: The Secret Life of the

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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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