The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Literary El Paso - Daudistel

Literary El Paso coverLiterary El Paso.  Edited by Marcia Hatfield Daudistel.  Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2009.  Hardback and jacket, rust red cloth, black endpapers, 572 pages, permissions bibliography, title and author index,  ISBN-10: 0875653871,  9780875653877,  $29.50


El Paso is more than dusty plazas and gunslingers set in a Spanish themed town in West Texas.  In the 1970's I went to El Paso bibliographically because folks were pointing to the visual beauty of the books – you know the trio, the master printer Hertzog and the artists Tom Lea and José Cisneros.  I stayed there for the stories, some sort of true, and others deeply so as in Bode's "eternal familiar."  I puzzled over Amado Muro, and then I came to "love the August rains" with Benjamin Alire Saenz.  I noticed how the Anglos came and stayed as academicians, and Tejanos left or passed through on their ways north and west.

Editor Marcia Daudistel knows from whence she comes; in fact she comes from being associate director of Texas Western Press in El Paso for years, and it's paid off.  She not only has selected 62 El Paso natives, adoptees, and passers-by, modern authors of the 20th century whose publications about life, culture, and literature have previously graced pages out where the Rio cuts through the Franklin Mountains and waters the Chihuahua Desert, but she also adds some unpublished works as well and includes a trace of bilingualism in the volume's series (El Paso is TCU's 4th installment) so well produced by Judy Alter's fine crew at TCU Press.

History, fiction, journalism, self-reflective essay, and to a lesser degree poetry describe and interpret Texas western-most piece of the borderlands. 

The pages begin with Tom Lea's Wonderful Country as many such bibliographical hymns do, followed by Carl Hertzog, Owen White, Dale Walker, C.L. Sonnichsen, and others of the traditional choir, some being born before 1900.  Then a bit of variation enters with Nancy Hamilton, Bernice Love Wiggins, and Reuben Salazar.  In Part II the Other El Paso emerges through Tomas Rivera, Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado, John Rechy, Ana Castillo, Estela Portillo Trambley, Sheryl Luna, Elroy Bode, and others. And there's the tourists photographing body parts in Juarez. 

You'll find recurring figures – folks from Little Chihuahua, brides, Pancho Villa, job hunters, retail shoppers, students, and people wobbling on the threshold between two worlds.  Buy the book, take a literary vacation.  Meet old friends and make new ones.



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