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HUIZACHE Magazine Issues 'Spellbinding' New Edition

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by Alejo Sierra

HUIZACHE has become, according to several among its small crew of editors, designers, proofreaders and support staff, the nation’s leading Latino literary magazine, easily home to world-class poetry, fiction, and essays from the original American West. Subscribers and long-time readers of the seven-year-old publication are thrilled, they say,  at the launch yet another blockbuster issue featuring writers from the established Latino literary cannon and, as always, new voices with cutting-edge talent impossible to ignore.  

“Today, the West and Southwest are exploding with art and culture rooted in centuries of tradition and fueled by history and a new contemporary culture. The cities that once circumscribed our western frontier—El Paso, San Antonio, Chicago, Denver, Tucson, Austin, San Francisco, Juárez, San Diego, Fresno, and Los Angeles—are pounding with life,” says HUIZACHE founding editor Dagoberto Gilb, an acclaimed writer who also directs the CentroVictoria: Center for Mexican American Literature and Culture, set up to umbrella the magazine while providing educational programs and opportunity for students and the community in Victoria, Texas.

“Those places are being renewed by fresh voices and faces who are inspired by the sights, sounds and music of their own culture and times. Their not outsiders searching for exotic’ accents. They are the local voices of storytellers and poets whose families have called those cities home for generations,” Gilb says emphatically.

These gifted, emerging voices are no longer waiting to be discovered by New York, Gilb explains, and HUIZACHE both generates and memorializes the movement their coming of age represents. It is an awakening that has spawned a virtual torrent of literary genius that just can't be ignored. Alongside their established literary forerunners and the masters they claim, he argues, next wave writers are rightfully being recognized for the fiction, poetry and essays that make that movement and magazine supporting it what what they are.

“It’s not just because HUIZACHE seeks and finds and gathers and publishes what no other literary magazine in the country does, beautifully, but because the poems, stories, and essays inside are as good as any in the best magazines or journals anywhere,” Gilb adds with an unfiltered urgency. Not content to rest on his hard-won laurels as a towering literary figure in American letters or an outspoken advocate on behalf of diverse writers, he  has often forgone his own work as an author to ensure that each issue of HUIZACHE resonates with the power and beauty of compelling narrative.

Michael Sedano, founder, publisher and editor of La Bloga—an online Latino literary clearinghouse and extension of his life-long, septuagenarian sidelight as a relentless Chicano lit lobbyist, chimed in during the release of h6 in 2016, with a straight-forward, no-nonsense take on the magazine once referred to in the Los Angeles Times as “our Paris Review.”

“Every issue has engaging poetry, arresting fiction, artwork, and amazing covers by artists such as Patssi Valdez, Linda Gamboa, and... John Valadez,” writes Sedano, whose unabashed, often unsung efforts as a one-man literary booster,  cheer section and archivist-historian on behalf of the Latino literati stretches back all the way to the original “Floricanto” poetry festivals held at the University of Southern California in the early ’70s.

Sedano’s contemporary counterpart, Alci Rengifo, writing for the Los Angeles Review of Books, is more nuanced and plunges deeper into the response HUIZACHE elicits on a gut level from many in the post-millennial, polyglot, urban deconstructionists he epitomizes. “HUIZACHE sings, dances, and roars... It celebrates all that is beautiful, perceptive, and visceral... it... demolishes artificial borders between wherever the reader comes from and where the text comes from. It is American art in its purest, most human form..” 

The seventh issue of HUIZACHE features cover art by emerging Latinx illustrator Isabel Castro, a young San Antonio native and a spellbinding collection of work from critically acclaimed writers and internationally prominent literary icons Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto, Dagoberto Gilb, and Alicia Gaspar de Alba. There isssue also features several less prominent wordsmiths, among them: Tucson’s Farid Matuk and Cassie Gonzales, LA’s Raquel Gutiérrez, Mexico City’s Gabriela Jauregui, San Diego-bred veteran Taco Shop Poet Adolfo Guzmán-López, and Utah-born Mario Chard. Illustrations are from comic book legend Jaime Crespo, and the young Daniel Parada and Breena Nuñez Peralta—art that was curated by Latino Comics Expo co-founder Ricardo Padilla.

HUIZACHE 7—or h7—“thrives undeterred in the Latino West, loudly proclaiming the vivid beauty of the bloom that springs from the huizache,’ that resilient Mexican-native Acacia tree that symbolizes the enduring, unassailable power of the literary work collected in each issue of the magazine,” Gilb clarifies in a prepared press release. In a polemical era when its roots—its Mexican character, its Mexican heritage—are not just dismissed or ignored but attacked by xenophobic supremacists, the communique continues, the magazine reaches past that ignorance and stretches artistic boundaries. “It exults in the life of those artists thought to be less than well-born, or simply not good enough, and exalts the dynamic literary work that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.”

Contributing author biographies and a modest survey of original literary works successfully submitted for publication in each of the six previously published editions are available to the public at www.huizachemag.com, a site which does NOT require a login registration for access. To order copies of the stunning, recently delivered and still hot off the press h7, or to take advantage of a special 20% -off promotional discount on the purchase of the complete HUIZACHE Magazine collection that includes all seven issues published thus far, please visit www.centrovictoria.net/huizache.html. 

For a PDF review copy of h7 or for information on hosting or co-sponsoring a HUIZACHE reading/release event to highlight and market the new issue; or to incorporate an author signing/sales event featuring locally-based or nearby writers who contributed to h7 or who've had work published in any of the last three editions, please send an email c/o Publicity & Events to: abel@huizachemag.org or leaved a voice mail at (213) 321-7115.

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Brooklyn & Boyle is a print and online magazine dedicated to Art & Life in Boyle Heights and Beyond. The publication features Brooklyn & Boyle stories from the Greater Eastside LA arts scene, including but not limited to the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, City Terrace, East LA, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, South Pasadena, Cypress Park, Arroyo Seco, Highland Park, and Eagle Rock, places every bit as creative and cultured as one another while aware and active in support of authentic arts and creative projects which support community integrity and respect for the history and heritage of the many Eastside neighborhoods.

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