Alurista

"I was the first modern Chicano writer who dared send bilingual work to an editor . . . All that was needed was for someone to get the nerve . . . and say this is the way I think, the way I write, this is the way the people write and think, this is how they speak."

- Alurista, from Chicano Authors: Inquiry by Interview by Bruce-Novoa
Alberto Baltazar Urista Heredia [Alurista] is the oldest of six in the family and has lived in various parts of Mexico and the United States. San Diego is where he is from now. He graduated from San Diego High School in 1965 and that summer enrolled at Chapman College, two years later thought better of it, transferred to San Diego State College where he taught Chicano Culture and Thought and Creative Writing. His education has been in life, philosophy, psychology, Latin American Studies and in la escuela del movimiento . . . Neither recluse, nor patron, Alurista is among the many who live the struggle daily. He doesn't wish, speculate, criticize, nor lament; he organizes, in the fullest sense of the word."

from the preface to floricanto en aztlán by Alurista
published 1971 by Chicano Studies Center Publications, UCLA.
Alurista, still a Chicano poet today, worked to represent Chicano speech in his poetry. A cultural activist, Alurista developed a poetic style which begged oral recitation, thereby transcending mere written existence, becoming rather an experience which invited participation.
"I write poetry to awaken the critical consciousness of our people, so that we can come to know ourselves and our heritage, and in so doing, learn to struggle for our self-determination in all things."
- Alurista, from "Using his poetry to awaken social activism of Latinos."
by Nora Villagrán, San Jose Mercury News, May 9, 1999.

"when raza?"  ¦   "address"   ¦   "I can't"   ¦   "cat walked in"   ¦  
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