Trending
MOST READ
\'Most Naked Woman\' Set to Shimmy at San Antonio Burlesque Festival

'Most Naked Woman' Set to Shimmy at San Antonio Burlesque Festival

Food & Drink: The answer came unanimously without prompting or hesitation, as if sent straight from the sexually liberated goddess of... By Melanie Robinson 7/30/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Pub: Stay Golden Social House

Pub: Stay Golden Social House

Flavor 2014: Puro meets Pearl-adjacent at this laidback joint that packs a punch with seriously delicious cocktails... 7/29/2014
Profiles in Cosplay from Ivy Doomkitty to Dog Groomers

Profiles in Cosplay from Ivy Doomkitty to Dog Groomers

Arts & Culture: Wizard World Comic Con graces San Antonio for the first time ever. The traveling pop-culture mega fest brings together comic... By Kyla Mora 7/30/2014
Chicken with a Cult Following at Pollos Asados

Chicken with a Cult Following at Pollos Asados

Food & Drink: It’s late on a Sunday morning, and the crowd that will soon fill Pollos Asados is just beginning to dribble in. Outside, the smoke from... By Ron Bechtol 7/30/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Sandra Cisneros's defenders and detractors debate what the celebrated author has meant to San Antonio and Latino literature

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Sandra Cisneros with her dog, Barney, aka Barnitos.

Photo: , License: N/A

Cisneros, circa 2006. Photo by Ray Santisteban.


It was Cisneros who Gonzalez credits for introducing her to the works of Mexican writers and Chicana writers and poets and gave her "permission" to write with a pointed observance. "She also asked me the best question, ever: 'How does it feel to have a brother in prison?' This is when I knew I had to write. She simply changed my life."

But like that song by Cyndi Lauper (another woman who was in her early thirties when she hit it big time in the '80s), money changes everything. Or at least it casts a curious pall over a persona that is known for writing class-conscious fiction like Woman Hollering Creek: And Other Stories, a 1991 collection that brought gender and immigrant issues to the fore.

For her part, Sandra will not discuss money, except to note that she does not have nearly as much as the people who are demanding that she constantly fund projects seem to think. "Everything changed for me when I got the MacArthur Grant," she says. The grant currently comes with a $500,000 dollar monetary award but was half that when she received it in 1995. "That's when people started treating me really different." And by "really different," she means with resentment. "Let me just warn you, there are a lot of people out there that want to tear me down, because they see in me something that they would like to be and are not." She's not wrong. One of the difficult things I encountered while working on this piece was the slew of "off the record" comments hurled at me.

Cisneros's most direct contribution to the literary community is the workshop she started in her kitchen now verging on an international affair. Macondo, named for the fictional community in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, is a successful writers workshop that, according to Cisneros, for two weeks out of the year turns a city of extreme illiteracy into a literary scene. Milligan agrees. "The Macondo gatherings, workshops and events have brought a lot of good writers to San Antonio," he said, "which is not only good for the writers studying with them, but good for the reputation of the city as a literary place."

The annual event, which started out as a primarily Chicano/Chicana gathering, has over the years become a more cosmopolitan coterie. "I was drawn to the idea of a community of writers whose cultural orientation, experiences, [and] position inform and contextualize their literary production," said Shin Yu Pai, one of five Asian-American writers in the 2010 Macondo group that included several African-American writers as well. "I wasn't sure what I would get out of it." Pai, whose primary métier was poetry, decided to take a class on digital storytelling with artist Agnes Chavez and used her time at Macondo to make a short digital film with still images and sound, resulting in the production of a "book trailer" for her latest collection of poetry, Adamantine. "I appreciated this diversity and was grateful to be a part of the group."

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus