cover image When Mexico Recaptures Texas: Essays

When Mexico Recaptures Texas: Essays

Carmen Boullosa, trans. from the Spanish by Nicolás Kanellos. Arte Público, $1

Esteemed feminist Mexican poet and novelist Boullosa (Cleopatra Dismounts) confronts the legacies of imperialism in this dual-language collection (the Spanish originals appear first) of 29 essays on revolutionaries and rebellious artists whose lives and work have been elided by dominant historical narratives. Blending criticism and history, she combines invigorating analysis with reflections on the ordinariness of violence and corruption in the West. Some of her protagonists include poet and activist Susana Chavez, who was murdered in her hometown of Juarez in 2011; labor activist Bettina Brentano Von Armin, who Boullosa speculates may have inspired one of the first protest rallies on Wall Street, in 1857; and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl who was abducted by Comanches at nine years old in 1836, renamed Nauda (Found Thing), and rescued—or kidnapped again—by whites many years later. Boullosa’s wide-ranging topics range from modern-day stories of drug cartels and the Ciudad Juarez feminicidio (mass killings of women) to the 19th-century Cuban poets who championed their country’s liberation from Spain. Rather than accepting imposed narratives and ostensibly self-evident truths, Boullosa introduces the vanquished, silenced, and obscured into the historical record, with special attention to women’s resistance. Her witty storytelling and penchant for the irreverent make each essay fascinating and subversive. [em](Oct.) [/em]