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100 Love Sonnets Reviewed by James Tipton

"Well," you might be asking, "just what does a book titled 100 Love Sonnets have to do with Mexico?" "A lot," I might answer, "because this is a collection 100 sonnets, the first 50 of which were written after the break-up of a fifteen-year marriage" and include fantasies of a future relationship.

The final 50 were written after the author meets Gioia in San Miguel de Allende. They become lovers and "The second half of the sonnets, from 51 on, were inspired by and written for her."

Both halves, though, are about extraordinary women. read more

A Pillow Stuffed with Diamonds: Tanka on La Vida Mexicana Reviewed by Rob Mohr

When poet, accomplished musician, champion swimmer and a writer/editor who developed innovative Florida arts curricula entered Mexico, her experiences were deftly transformed into finely-nuanced poetry.

Margaret Van Every's bilingual lyric poetry, following the seventh century Japanese five-line Tanka format, affords the reader one pleasurable moment after another.

With well-honed sensibilities she unveils her day-by-day confrontation with Mexican culture and its people — a confrontation that soon became a love affair. read more

Homer and the Aztec muse in Mexican literature Ronald A. Barnett ©

Tribute Page from the Codex Mendoza
Much controversy has recently arisen over several collections of poems in Nahuatl, in particular the Cantares Mexicanos, a manuscript in the National Library of Mexico. These poems are of particular importance because they appear to support a much different picture of the ancient Aztecs than we get from the tzompantli (skull rack) in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán or the horrendous accounts of Aztec human sacrifice left to us by the early Spanish soldiers and missionaries. read more

Discovering Clues to the Legacy of a Mexican Poet: Manuel Rocha y Chabre Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr.

Several years ago, I was rummaging through a box of family photos with my dad, when he showed me an old, yellowing image of his mother from 1908. He told me it was taken in Mexico at the wedding of her cousin, the poet and playwright Manuel Rocha y Chabre. read more

Writing about writers: Puerto Vallarta and Jenny McGill Marvin West

Jenny McGill, author of Drama and Diplomacy in Sultry Puerto Vallarta
Writing about writers can be a challenge. Most are civil enough. They know you can't do it as well as they do but they are forgiving and generally polite. Writers understand interviews but seem reluctant to part with good lines. I think they think they are saving them for themselves. Not so Jenny McGill. She tells it like it is. read more

Mexico inspires a growing list of foreign writers Anthony Wright

Roberto Bolaño The wave of media excitement generated in 2009 by the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño was on a par with the announcement of a new Britney Spears release, even if up until that moment ... read more

Six degrees of separation: how a Mexican star became a Cajun legend Maggie Van Ostrand

statue of Evangeline in St. Martinville, Louisiana

Even if you have never wondered what ties Mexico to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I'm going to tell you anyway. It begins with a poem.

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The Sanchez Ghost Anthony Wright

A tale of haunted guilt set in Mexico City and in the mind of the haunted protagonist, Pablo. . . . Omar gazed at the rifle trained at his chest, and no presentiment crossed his brow. He knew it was Pablo's gun; he had gone pheasant hunting with him and his old man in the past among the gullies of hills of valleys extending to the great volcano of Popocatépetl. . . . read more

Washing Dishes in the Ancient Village / Lavando platos en el antiguo pueblo: A Few Comments Reviewed by James Tipton

Washing Dishes in the Ancient Village / Lavando platos en el antiguo pueblo: Poetry by James Tipton
A little over a year ago, I was searching for a title to pull these short poems together. Enedina stepped out to wash dishes in the cold water of the worn concrete tank immediately behind the house. She greeted that first morning of the new year in her short white dress and white high heeled shoes. read more

Ghosts of the Palace of Blue Tiles: Los fantasmas del Palacio de los Azulejos by Jorge Fernández Granados Reviewed by James Tipton

Ghosts of the Palace of Blue Tiles
Many readers of Mexico Connect have discovered these illuminating words by Octavio Paz: "In the United States the word death burns the lips, but the Mexican lives close to it, jokes about it, caresses it, celebrates it, sleeps with it, it is his favorite toy." read more

Sacred Lake Poems by Bill Frayer Reviewed by James Tipton

  Available from the author Life in Mexico observed by someone who is bursting with affection for his new country. I have reviewed a lot of fiction and non-fiction books for Mexico Connect, but I... read more

Loving Pedro Infante by Denise Chavez Reviewed by James Tipton

"What can I tell you about Pedro Infante? If you're a Mejicana or Mejicano and don't know who he is, you should be tied to a hot stove with yucca rope and beaten with sharp dry corn husks as you stand in a vat of soggy fideos. If your racial and cultural ethnicity is Other, then it's about time you learned about the most famous of Mexican singers and actors." read more

The Pearl: a novella by John Steinbeck Reviewed by James Tipton

In film or fiction, The Pearl is a good story. It is one of those stories so simple that it becomes profound.

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Memories of my melancholy whores: a novel Reviewed by James Tipton

The year I turned ninety, I wanted to give myself the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin.

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Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo - Universal artist from Colima Wendy Devlin

In the half-light I enter the ‘horno’ or oven room. A base of reds frames the pre-Hispanic pieces in the Museum of Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo. It is easy to imagine the fiery origin of the land ... read more

Jose Garcia Olvera - El Professor De Los Pobres Zofia Barisas

Olvera has been teaching a choir in Santa Ana Tepetitlan, for boys aged six to 13 years old, five days a week for the last 23 years. The first time I hear the choir Ninos Cantores d... read more

Queen of the South by Arturo Perez Reverte Reviewed by Allan Cogan

The story line concerns a young Mexican girl, Teresa Mendoza, 23 years old, who is in love with a Chicano Cessna pilot who flies cocaine and hashish from Colombia to locations in Texas. It's a dangerous trade to be in and Teresa's lover, Güero Dávila, is well aware of the risks, not only from drug enforcement agents but also from rival narcotraficantes. With the former, the risks are imprisonment. With the latter, the penalty is death should one lose a shipment or not play the game the way the bosses want it played. read more

Mexico, a Traveller's Literary Companion by C. M. Mayo Reviewed by Allan Cogan

I've reviewed over a hundred books for Mexico Connect. These have covered the gamut of topics, all related to this country - fiction, travel, history, living in Mexico, moving to Mexico, biographies, city profiles and a few volumes difficult to categorize. I thought I had covered just about all aspects of the subject. Imagine my surprise, then, to suddenly be reminded of a sizeable slice of Mexicana that I had barely touched. Discovering it was like opening a door and walking into a brightly lit room filled with all kinds of literary treasures, all of which were produced in Mexico by active homegrown writers, many of whom are probably known to Mexican readers but not necessarily to outsiders like myself who need much more familiarity with Spanish in order to appreciate the breadth and scope of this country's literature. read more

Pulp Fiction - Mexico's Historieta Sergio Ulloa

Moralistic, prejudiced, racist, misogynist, manipulative, sexist, daring, exciting, critical, sarcastic and passionate - these are just a few adjectives that commonly describe Mexico's most widely-read... read more

Music & Dance In Mexico

MUSIC The music of Mexico provides a rich tapestry of rhythm, tone, and variety. Its roots are based on a compelling history of disparate influences. From the music of the Mariachi, the Corri... read more

Zorro by Isabel Allende Reviewed by Allan Cogan

There have been several versions of the Zorro story since its initial appearance in 1905 in The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley. When I did a search on I was offered several thousand references to the character. It's all new to me. It's not really clear to me why a novelist as renowned as Isabel Allende would produce yet another version of this oft told story. read more

Treasures in Heaven, a Novel by Kathleen Alcala Reviewed by Allan Cogan

Here's an interesting novel set in turn-of-the-century Mexico City. It's a story that's mainly concerned with women's rights, which were just about non-existent in those times, and the political turbulence preceding the Mexican Revolution. Estela, a rather attractive and spirited lady, lives in a small rural town with her infant son, Noé. We meet her at the point in her life when she is leaving her husband and heading for Mexico City. Essentially she's looking for her former lover, Dr. Victor Carranza. read more

Bilimbique: A Story From Mexico by Peggy Brown Balderrama Reviewed by Allan Cogan

One of the problems with reviewing this short but interesting novel is that the plot is based on a couple of surprises. To say too much about it would spoil the story. Once the action gets well underway the reader is presented with a surprising development involving one of the main characters. At that point the reader can even be forgiven for believing the story is essentially over. Read on however, and you'll find that Sra. Balderrama has another trick up her sleeve for the last chapter, a ploy that makes the experience of reading Bilimbique even more satisfying. read more

Searching for Sor Juana - Mexican poet David Everett

In the preface to his monumental biography Sor Juana, the late Octavio Paz wrote, "In her lifetime [1651 to 1695], Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was read and admired not only in Mexico but in Spain and al... read more

Rain of Gold Reviewed by Allan Cogan

This novel is a kind of Mexican "Roots" - a big family survival saga covering three generations of two families, complete with a large cast of characters. Author Villaseñor has based his complex, sprawling tale on the experiences of his own family members and his interviews with them. In fact, even though this is a novel, the author has included several actual family photos of the people he's writing about. It certainly lends a measure of authenticity to the narrative. Historically, the novel covers the period from the Mexican Revolution, around 1910, to the Prohibition era in California. The action takes place in many parts of Mexico and in many states in the U.S. read more
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