FEMINIST PRESS Catalog Copy:
BLACK DOVES: Essays on Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me
by Ana Castillo
“Paloma Negra,” Ana Castillo’s mother sings the day her daughter leaves home, “I don’t know if I should curse you or pray for you.” BLACK DOVES: Essays on Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me explores the writer’s life as the intellectually spirited daughter of a Mexican-Indian mother and how such a daughter made her way to becoming the cherished Chicana feminist novelist, poet, and non-fiction writer she is today. Ana Castillo speaks from the heart about the challenges and difficulties of growing up brown in Chicago in the late 1960s and 1970s.
A generation later, raising a son on her own, the mariachi lyrics resonate when Ana Castillo’s son spirals after college. The heated immigration debate and random attacks on youth of color are addressed with an unflinching focus on social injustice. Regardless of color or class, every parent in the United States today, can take comfort in and heed of Castillo’s poignant, often funny, stories of her life.
(Previous working titles for this collection: ‘MY Mother’s Mexico.’ and ‘Swimming with Sharks.’)
MFA Low Residency Program, Summer Edition 2015
Spiritual Activism Writing Workshop and Craft Talk
Cancer is best won when detected early.
Get your checked and have mammogram if you haven’t this year.
“When one is confronted by the mirror, the spirit trembles.”—The Mixquiahuala Letters
“Multiple Spaces, Intertextualities and Mexico
Her first poems published in chapbooks and then in a fuller selection as Women are Roses, Ana Castillo, taking a route that Sandra Cisneros would replicate just a few years later, proceeded to write and publish her first novel, The Mixquiahuala Letters.
However this text, unlike the first books of fiction produced by Cisneros and so many other young writers (Joyce, Lawrence and Thomas Wolfe, as well Louisa May Walcott and Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin [My Brilliant Career] just to recall a few famous examples by Anglo women) did not tell the story of her childhood and coming of age; it was no bildungsroman or portrait of the artist. That identity story would come later, though not in a narrative volume but in her second full-scale collection of poems, My Father was a Toltec. Rather than providing poetic vignettes by an adolescent girl whose way of seeing and saying could win the hearts of thousands throughout the U.S., The Mixquiahuala Letters presents a series of letters written by one young Chicago Chicana woman, Teresa, to a New York-based woman friend, Alicia, describing their meeting and travels together as they seek to sort out their identity and come to terms with their lives…” –http://www.elbeisman.com/article.php?action=read&id=687
“As would be true throughout her subsequent opus culminating thus far with Give it to Me, Castillo portrays a variety of spaces, above all in New Mexico as well as other southwestern and West Coast locales, but also in Paris, Madrid and Central America (or as she designates it, Sapagonia), all implicitly or more often explicitly contrasting, on the one hand with an idealized space, initially defined as “my country” and with the far from ideal nitty-gritty Chicago which we may readily see as the central world of her opus — a fallen world indeed, full of all kinds of negative and potentially destructive dimensions but ultimately the key battleground for her most of her protagonists’ struggles for gender, ethnic, and artistic identity.”–Marc Zimmerman, http://www.elbeisman.com/article.php?action=read&id=687
SWIMMING WITH SHARKS: A Mother’s and Son’s Urban Life Stories (Feminist Press, NY; May 2016)
WATERCOLOR WOMEN, OPAQUE MEN: A Novel in Verse (New, revised edition, Northwestern University Press, Fall, 2016)
(Oil by Ana Castillo)
2 versions: Bilingual Press (unedited). Anchor Books (revised). New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
“…most casual readers are likely unaware of the content and context of the substantial changes made to Castillo’s novel between its two publication dates.literary critics who tackle this novel are unaware of those changes or do not mention them at all…
…Scholars of border literature, particularly those who emphasize the narrative role of oral, alternative, counter, and competing histories in border texts, could benefit from attention to the material instability of the texts they study. Literature of the border often advocates sustained attention to the instability of identity and history, asserting mestiza/o identity as a valorization of the spaces between traditionally conceived binaries implied by nation, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. By expanding the field of inquiring to in include the material borders of and between texts, we can begin…”