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Carmen Tafolla: New & Selected Poems (Poet Laureate Series)

TCU Press, 2018

A beautiful volume of the very best of Tafolla’s poetic work, this collection brings such historic favorites as “Voyage” and “This River Here” from her previous books of poetry from 1976-2015 together with fresh, new poems grappling with death and loss and hope and urging us to watch “for one drop of stubborn sunlight/ one ungestappoed heartful of dirt” in which to plant the seeds of resistance/ change/ love.” 





This River Here: Poems of San Antonio
Wings Press, 2014

San Antonio's first Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla captures a “breath of peace and song of celebration” in an exploration into the poetry of place, and the enduring spirit of deep time. The Missions, the Spurs, the chubascos, and the lingering aroma of centuries of spices all inhabit this feast of San Antonio flavors, garnished with historic and contemporary photographs of the city, its peoples, its dwellings and its obstinate and enduring sense of place, and of Sabor!


  To read an excerpt: Feeding You  



Wings, 2012 

Winner of three International Latino Book Awards First Prizes -- Best Book of Poetry, Best Gift Book, and Best Art Book -- this beautiful hardback volume combines the haunting oil paintings of Catalina Garate’s rural indigenous women in their rebozos, with an English poem and a Spanish poem capturing universal experiences of women—grief, tempest, solitude, passion, creative growth, healing, survival, all spoken in the voices of women whose strength and grace overwhelm us and pull us deep into the warmth of their rebozo.


  To read an excerpt: Soledad  



Curandera (30th Anniversary Edition) 
Wings, 2012, Illustrations by Thelma Muraida

With historical photographs and a new introduction by Norma Cantu, this re-print of an internationally well-loved poetry collection, was treasured for years as part of the Tucson USD Mexican-American Studies curriculum, until banned by the State of Arizona in 2012. The original Prólogo by Rolando Hinojosa says “certitud, claridad, y celebración de la vida”  and Cantú calls it “magic and wonder. Allow it to awe you.” Based on poems written from 1975 to 1979, and first published by Angela de Hoyos’ pioneering M&A Editions in 1983, Curandera is a classic. 


Tamales, Comadres & The Meaning of Civilization 
Co-authored with Ellen Riojas Clark, Wings Press, 2010, 2011

Affirming the fun, the flavor, and the 7,000 years of tamalada history in the American continents! This delightful collection of folk sayings, personal anecdotes, hints, recipes, and the philosophy of women’s collaboration creates a beautiful gift that wraps the culture of the community like a steaming tamal in perfectly celebrated corn shucks. The first year of its printing (2010), this book sold out in three days!


A Life Crossing Borders: Memoir of a Mexican-American Confederate
Arte Publico Press, 2010  

The historic, hundred-year-old memoir of Rev. Santiago Tafolla (1837-1911), orphan, runaway, Soldier of the Second Cavalry, camel-keeper, Confederate bugler, justice-of-the-peace and circuit-riding preacher, this pencil-on-Big-Chief-Tablet manuscript forms a key link in understanding the Southwest in a  period of changing boundaries and ethnic definitions. A manual in survival, it includes the critical description of Mexican-American Confederates in fear of being lynched by their fellow Confederate soldiers vowed to eliminating “greasers.”  Edited by Carmen Tafolla and her cousin Laura Tafolla, the book includes the original Spanish memoir, an English translation with historical notes, an introduction, epilogue, and valuable photographs and documents from the late 1800s and early 20th century. 



The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans 
Wings Press, 2008

With a fresh sense of humor and a profound understanding, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans, a feast of short fiction by Carmen Tafolla, explores the human spirit inherent in the bilingual, bicultural world of the Texas-Mexico border. These sixteen stories skillfully bridge the gap between miracles and tragedies, prejudice and transcendence, and oppression and liberation. From the comical exploration of the hypocrisy expressed at funerals to the spiritual mission of a magical tortilla, the collection draws upon a wide range of emotions but comes together in a singular, powerful voice that reflects the holiness found in everyday life.

These stories are wonderful… Carmen Tafolla is full of pep, full of love and experience. The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans is just plain delightful… Read it and laugh; read it and weep; read it and feel so much better than you did before you opened to page one and got sucked right into the magic by Chencho’s cow. ¡Qué obra más maravillosa!
— John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War, The Empanada Brotherhood, et al.


  To read an excerpt from Invisible  


  To read an excerpt from Holy Tortilla  

Sonnets and Salsa

Sonnets and Salsa is a significant collection of Tafolla’s poetry, combining the now classic Sonnets to Human Beings manuscript with a bit of salsa picante, including “The Storykeeper” and “La Pasionaria.

  To read an excerpt  



Sonnets to Human Beings

The first edition of Sonnets to Human Beings and Other Selected Works made history as the first critical edition of a work by a Chicana writer. This master collection contains Tafolla’s award-winning manuscript, Sonnets to Human Beings, plus a selection of Tafolla’s best-loved poems and stories, an autobiography and a range of critical and interpretive essays. Here in Tafolla’s poems and stories is the "“Blab of the Pave"” that Whitman celebrated in Leaves of Grass. Also translated into German, Sonnets to Human Beings sold out in Germany as part of the Osnabruck Editions of Minority Authors.

  To read an excerpt  



Earlier Works:

Tafolla’s first book of poetry, Get Your Tortillas Together, co-authored with 
Cecilio Garcia-Camarillo and Reyes Cardenas in 1976, is considered a 
collector’s item.

Curandera (M&A, Lalo Press) and La Isabela de Guadalupe y Otras Chucas (in Five Poets of Aztlán) followed, establishing Tafolla as an early master at code-switching and a bilingual esthetic.

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