Other books byIlan Stavans
All the Odes
A Bilingual Edition
A career-spanning volume, charting the Nobel laureate’s work in the ode form Pablo Neruda was a master of the ode, which he conceived as an homage to just about everything that surrounded him—from an artichoke to the clouds in the sky, from the moon to his own friendship with Federico García Lorca, from the seasons to his favorite places in Chile. He was in his late forties when he committed himself to writing an ode a week and in the end produced a total of 225, which are dispersed throughout his varied oeuvre. This bilingual volume, edited by Ilan Stavans, the distinguished translator and scholar of Latin American literature, gathers all the odes together for the first time in any language. Rendered into English by an assortment of accomplished translators that includes Philip Levine, Paul Muldoon, Mark Strand, and Margaret Sayers Peden, collectively they read like the personal diary of a man in search of meaning who sings to life itself, to our connections with one another, and to the place we have in nature and the cosmos. All the Odes is a lasting statement on the role of poetry as a lightning rod during tumultuous times.
The Making of a New American Language
With the release of the census figures in 2000, Latino America wasanointed the future driving force of American culture. The emergence of Spanglish as a form of communication is one of the more influential markers of an America gone Latino. Spanish, present on this continent since the fifteenth century, when Iberian explorers sought to colonize territories in what are now Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and California, has become ubiquitous in the last few decades. The nation's unofficial second language, it is highly visible on several 24-hour TV networks and on more than 200 radio stations across the country. But Spanish north of the Rio Grande has not spread in its pure Iberian form. On the contrary, a signature of the brewing "Latin Fever" that has swept the United States since the mid-1980s is the astonishing creative linguistic amalgam of tongues used by people of Hispanic descent, not only in major cities but in rural areas as well -- neither Spanish nor English, but a hybrid, known only as Spanglish.
A Photographic Essay
Who was César Chávez? Here, an essay and photographs restore this man to his place in American history. The real César Chávez got lost in the hoopla. Many think he was a Mexican boxer. Young people think he’s that guy on the stamp or that statue in the park. No wonder it’s difficult, especially for our young people, to understand his human complexities and the struggles to which he gave his life. Esteemed Latin American scholar and writer Ilan Stavans, supported by more than forty photographs from archival collections at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, restores this man’s humanity so that readers can understand his struggles as a labor organizer and civil rights activist for farm workers. Cesar Chavez: A Photographic Essay, a 2011 Skipping Stones honor award book, discusses Chavez' growing up years and his family; his comadre Dolores Huerta, who stood with him from the beginning; his relationship with Dr. King and other activists in the broader struggles for civil rights for all people of color; and his insistence on being an activist for the rights of farm workers when so much media attention was given to the civil rights activists in the cities. Ilan Stavans is a nationally respected Jewish Latino writer and scholar. His story Morirse está en hebreo” was made into the award-winning movie My Mexican Shivah, produced by John Sayles. His books include An Organizer’s Tale (Penguin Classics, 2008), Dictionary Days (Graywolf Press), The Disappearance (TriQuarterly), and Resurrecting Hebrew (Random House). Stavans has received numerous awards, among them a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Latino Book Award, and Chile’s Presidential Medal. He is a professor in Latin American culture at Amherst College.
A Graphic Novel
When young Rolando Pérez falls to his death from a cliff outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, the mysteries immediately begin to accumulate. Was he pushed or did he jump? What are the documents that Rolando was willing sacrifice himself to protect from his family, the police, and the Catholic Church? And what does a colorful concha pastry have to do with any of this? In the midst of the investigation, Professor Ilan Stavans arrives in Santa Fe to give a lecture about the area’s long-buried Jewish history. He’s looking forward to relaxing afterwards with an evening of opera, but his presentation on crypto-Jews” attracts unexpected attention, and soon Ilan is drawn into a desperate race to find the long-lost documents that might hold the key to Rolando’s death. Ilan’s detective work leads him to taco joints, desert ranches, soaring cathedrals, and, finally, deep into the region’s past, where he encounters another young man: Luis de Carvajal, aka El Iluminado,” a sixteenth-century religious dissenter. In a tale of martyrdom that eerily echoes Rolando’s, Carvajal fled Spain for colonial Mexico at the height of the Spanish Inquisition, searching for his religious heritagea hunt for which he, like Rolando, would pay the ultimate price. In El Iluminado, esteemed literary critic Ilan Stavans and author and illustrator Steve Sheinkin present a secret history of religion in the Americas, showing how thousands of European refugees have left a trail of ghostly footprintsand troves of mysteriesacross the American Southwest.