Both were raised in father-absent families, lived in urban, working-class environments, and had two generations of women—grandmother and mother—play a central role in their lives, and both chose to write in the English language. I visualize this paradigm as a triad.
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In contrast, Zamora's Spanish, and at times her English, are derived from literate, formal usages. The dilemmas resulting from the intersection of the identities of "Chicana" and "feminist" and of "Chicana" and "poet" are the subject of my book. Because these Chicana writers mediated the tension of their social situations and literary traditions in poetic language, my method is to present close readings of several key poems by each author. The third important identity, the one that makes this paradigm a literary one, is that of "poet," for these writers may also view themselves as members of a poetic community.
Walter Ong has termed this phenomenon of communication "secondary orality," meaning an oral form of communication ssx by radio and television and "by no means independent of writing and print but totally dependent on them.
Instead, I have attempted to lay the preliminary abjo that will facilitate the reading and interpretation of Chicana poetry. I also suggest that it is possible, and indeed necessary, to study ethnic literatures as intertextual dialogues with mainstream sources without having to desecrate the cultural and political aspirations of minority literatures.
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I do not claim in this book to present a full-fledged theory of Chicano literature or poetry. Of prime importance were three factors: communication of the message, time, and money. Her solution of the dilemma of being both a woman and a Chicana is to respond primarily as a woman to the dominant masculine society. Let me present in advance a summary of the positions adopted by these writers with respect to the three identities.
I therefore include all the poems I analyze in their entirety. Indeed, Villanueva's poetry reveals stronger connections with the Anglo-American literary tradition of Whitman than it vollanueva with the Latin-American and Chicano literary heritage of Neruda. Villanueva's stylistic devices, unlike Plath's clinical precision of image and her tight stanzaic and metrical patterns, especially in "Lady Lazarus" and "Daddy," are oral and presentational in tone.
In the past, certainly, important events were passed on from generation to generation in oral forms such as narratives, anecdotes, corridos "ball"tales, legends, and songs. Villanueva uses short lines, at times seemingly inattentive to where she breaks them, though occasionally a break als an abrupt shift in focus or tone.
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Villanueva's most interesting and sez dynamic work, the poet relates the private and intimate details of her life. The triad of identities is not an ironclad structure by which to read and evaluate Chicana poetry, but rather vilpanueva heuristic device allowing me to determine the nature of a Chicana poetic discourse within a given historical moment. Thus poems in this second mode are spoken by disembodied lyric speakers, whereas poems in the first mode are spoken by someone who is clearly identifiable as a Chicana, in both an ethnic and a gender sense.
Bloodroot and the Irvine Poems Bloodroot is a kind of poetic journal, a hasty jotting down of notes, impressions, and ideas. In describing what their poetic language says and does, my intention is to help my readers to understand why these poets make the choices they do with respect to their double dilemma as well as to make them aware of the consequences and implications of their choices.
My analyses probe beneath the surface structure in order to reveal the different ways that issues of gender and culture are embedded in language.
The Search for a Female Identity 1 As a poet Alma Villanueva is consciously preoccupied with a search for a universal female community. The poetry of villnueva early phase of the movement exemplified characteristics of the corrido form. During the s and s poetry was better able to meet the needs of the Mexican-Chicano community, which urgently wanted aabjo redefine its relationship to American society and concomitantly to explore its own cultural roots.
Her arguments unfold by way of images rather than by logical connections. ificantly, when literary expression did emerge, a substantial portion of it was written in Spanish or in a mixture of Spanish and English.
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Zamora's female consciousness enters into sharp conflict with her Chicana ethnic self. By closely reading the poem as a verbal artifact, or a string of words that echo one another, I argue that MotherMay I? I believe that no such enterprise is possible at present.
Together, they help to clarify the broader issue with which this book is concerned: the conflicts between gender and culture in contemporary Chicana poetry. Because Alma Villanueva's poetry is more difficult than that of the other three poets, I have included some of her poems in the Appendixes. One is ish, or even infantile, language, a kind of dee baby talk that becomes a way of reliving the joys and pains of childhood.
ificantly, this double identification was characterized by a double ambivalence. Though oppressed as women in traditional Mexican culture, Chicanas, ironically, had often been the mainstay of their culture.
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Eliot, for exampleit should be "open," and "discovered," a "field of composition" scored for the ear and written for oral performance. It has survived within a United States society that now enjoys not only a tradition of a long-established print culture but also a tradition that is highly postliterary and technologically advanced.
For other poets I translate certain words or phrases so as to eliminate any possible difficulty for non-Spanish readers. I use the term "mode" to identify and describe the different strategies of address used by these Chicana poets to communicate with their audiences.
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Chicanas thus had reason to identify with both communities. My triad is a continuum intended to trace the moving and changing relationships among the three identities.
For these reasons the poem was a more flexible and less intimidating form for Chicanos and Chicanas. I have benefited from both his vast knowledge of critical theory and his sensitivity to ethnic culture.
The problem, as she conceives it, lies not in expressing her personal poetic "I" but in expressing the experience of a historical, collective community. These modes are not mutually exclusive.
I also wish to express my gratitude to Don Matson and to Cecilia Ubilla-Arenas for their helpful discussions. My book is an attempt to understand the divided allegiances implied by these two terms. Although my chosen poets, with the exception of Corpi, had working-class origins, they all obtained some higher education in the United States. The understanding of her arguments depends on her readers' ability to relate the meaning of one image with that of another more than on their ability to capture the rhetorical force of her statements and counterstatements, as is true of Cervantes' discursive poems.
I judge the implied audience in Corpi's poetry from a different perspective.