A New Window to Border Literary Culture

An incalculable casualty of border violence and security polices in recent years has been the cultural exchanges between Mexican and U.S. citizens. Yet as insecurity dominated the discourse about places like Ciudad Juarez and an existing cultural gap got even wider the border literary scene endured and even excelled amid the hard times.

In the spirit of reopening cultural windows, Frontera NorteSur would like to inform readers of a new Spanish-language literary portal on the website of the Center for Latin American and Border Studies of New Mexico State University (NMSU).

Launched by Dr. Jose Manuel Garcia, writer and NMSU professor of Spanish, the Cultura en la Frontera (Border Culture) section features works by authors from the Paso del Norte region, especially showcasing Ciudad Juarez writers who frequently do not get the recognition they deserve on this side of the border.

The page contains contributions by Dr. Garcia, NMSU Spanish instructor Adriana Candia, Ciudad Juarez writer Margarita Salazar Mendoza and many others. The pieces encompass literary reviews, essays, short stories, interviews, and poetry. Subjects such as Pancho Villa, jazz and life in Ciudad Juarez are treated with flair and style. A tribute is posted for Chihuahua cultural activist and writer Juan Holguin Rodriguez who sadly passed away on July 25 of this year.

La Cultura en la Frontera also has links to the must-see Spanish-language Ombligo/Umbigo magazine, a production that showcases Mexican and Latin American writers, artists and musicians, as well as the appropriately named Arenas Blancas, or White Sands, another NMSU literary journal produced by Garcia, Candia and others.

Giving voice to writers from both sides of the Paso del Norte border line, Arenas Blancas is published mainly in Spanish but includes English-language contributions and, as befits the region, literary works in both languages.

The magazine’s name denotes the shared geography of the borderland, where rolling expanses of white sand dunes rise from the desert floor in both the Las Cruces-Alamogordo area and Samalayuca near Ciudad Juarez.

Edited by Rodrigo Figueroa and translated into English as “Border, Eroticism and the Third Dimension,” Arenas Blanca’s last issue bounces with poetry, short stories, photography, and an interview with iconic New Mexican writer Denise Chavez.

A story by Juan Carlos Esquivel, “The Border of the Living Dead,” depicts a mysterious zombie invasion of Ciudad Juarez, while an Uberto Stabile poem, the title translated as “Jack Kerouac, Pocahontas and I,” chronicles the journey of an interesting trio.

Translated, the poem begins:

“Jack Kerouac, Pocahontas and I

were going down the south road in my van

listening to John Lee Hooker on the radio…”
Readers can access NMSU’s new Spanish-language culture page at the link below. Feel more than free to spread the word!


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