Memorias from the Beltway (Paperback)
Memorias from the Beltway is our first FlowerSong Press joint publication and the fourth Red Salmon Press full-length book dedicated to poetry illuminating the words and verses of nascent and established Chicanx/ Latinx/Native American writers. Through our respective presses, we seek to rupture the hierarchical ways traditional modes of publishing insist upon only celebrating the works of the most widely-recognized or prolific authors and marginalizing the leading voices of Chicanx/ Latinx/Native American/POC communities that are constantly innovating and creating. As Red Salmon Press, we are proud that Mauricio Novoa's provocative collection centers on the Central American experience. After over two decades, we are fulfilling a mandate to fully embrace that panoply of Chicanx/Latinx/Native American literary perspectives, which are integral to (re)defining who and what we are.
In this work, we are held at attention to listen and contend with themes of working class survivalism and ingenuity, spiritual tenacity, hip hop articulations, and el exilio via the poems of Mauricio, and his generation, to disrupt our own understandings of plural Latinidad. Poems such as "Happy Meals" to "Memorias from the Beltway" encapsulate nuances about salvadore o masculinity through imagery of everyday forms of violence and resistance marking a thread between state-sponsored, insurgent, street sites for these expressions. Other pieces demonstrate a quiet invocation of memory, place, and intergenerationality that transports us to the perennial beats of the East Coast and prayers of abuelas. Last, the layers of familial strife, bonds, and strength depicted are a subtle ode to Mauricio's immigrant parents that is neither nostalgic nor cloying.
Twenty-five years after the publication the East of the Freeway by ra lrsalinas, Memorias from the Beltway is a much needed repuesta to the recollections, which ra l explores in another time of vast global, sociopolitical transformation and popular, grassroots uprisings. The intimate manner in which both Mauricio and ra l communicate the soulfulness of our rebellion through sparse and intentional words is certainly one point of commonality. Their love of la vida cotidiana is another moment of intersection. Undoubtedly, it is in these small acts of calling our existence that we persevere. Memorias from the Beltway implores us to dwell in these remembrances, mourn our losses, and honor the words we carve out as "lifelines."
-Lilia Rosas, Ph.D. Executive Director, Red Salmon Arts Osten, Tejaztl n, Oto o 2020