Connecting Latinas All Over the World through Literature

June 2015 Teleconference: Richard Blanco, Eileen Truax

June 2015 Teleconference: Richard Blanco  and Eileen Truax

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Read More Outside Links: Book Author Publisher

June 2015 Book of the Month


The Prince of Los Cocuyos

By Richard Blanco
Published by Ecco Press
ISBN-13: 978-0990671374

About The Prince of Los Cocuyos
Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: the nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba that lived in the hearts and minds of his parents, an island paradise temporarily lost, to which they would all return someday, and Blanco’s imagined America, which he believed was exactly like the America he saw on reruns of “The Brady Bunch” and “Leave it to Beaver,” an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to finally see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to questions about his cultural identity, which led him to writing as a means to investigate them; in turn, his vision as a writer –as an artist– prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In Los Cucuyos, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age story. From his conflicted feelings for his grandmother, who loved him fiercely but whose homophobia drove Blanco deep into the closet from an early age, crushing his ability to write, to his childhood pilgrimage to “the promised land” –Disneyworld– a trip for which his mother packed six rolls of toilet paper; from his relationship with his grandfather and their make-shift “farm” in suburban Miami to his interactions with the Cuban exiles during the years he worked at his uncle’s grocery store, Blanco explores his Miami adolescence.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells and textures of Miami, Los Cucuyos is a resonant account of how Blanco came into his own sense of an authentic self, one that incorporated his Cubanness, his queerness, and his artistic drive; and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American beyond the myths and ideals to which we subscribe. A singular and yet universal story, Los Cucuyos illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are perpetually shaped by experiences, memories, and stories worth examining and honoring for all their complexities: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that make a life alive in any context imaginable.


June 2015 Additional Conversation

Dreamers by Eileen truax

Dreamers – An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream

Beacon Press
By Eileen Truax
Published by Beacon Press
ISBN-13: 978-080703033-2

Dreamers is a movement book for the generation brought to the United States as children—and now fighting to live here legally. Of the approximately twelve million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, as many as two million came as children. They grow up here, going to elementary, middle, and high school, and then the country they call home won’t—in most states—offer financial aid for college and they’re unable to be legally employed. In 2001, US senator Dick Durbin introduced the DREAM Act to Congress, an initiative that would allow these young people to become legal residents if they met certain requirements.

And now, more than ten years later, in the face of congressional inertia and furious opposition from some, the DREAM Act has yet to be passed. But recently, this young generation has begun organizing, and with their rallying cry “Undocumented, Unapologetic, and Unafraid” they are the newest face of the human rights movement. In Dreamers, Eileen Truax illuminates the stories of these men and women who are living proof of a complex and sometimes hidden political reality that calls into question what it truly means to be American.


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