Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gloria Anzaldúa: La Frontera

"To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads."
~ Gloria Anzaldúa
Borders surround us, beginning where flesh meets air and continuing through the ether to divide high from low, night from day, good from bad. For some, the border is a natural state of being, an in-between ambiguity where absolutes don't fully exist and possibilities are endless. Gloria Anzaldúa made her home there and flourished for a brief time before dying of diabetes complications in 2004 at age 61.

Anzaldúa left behind an electrifying book - Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) - part memoir, part manifesto, written in prose and poetry, but in the end it's truly "sin fronteras," or borderless. Anzaldúa seizes the opportunity to fully express her concept of "the new Mestiza," which involves embracing of all the contradictions and multitudes that reside within from her identity as a self-described, "chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet, writer, and cultural theorist."

U.S.-Mexico border, the place “where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds.” ~ Gloria Anzaldúa
Anzaldúa grew up along the Tex-Mex border in the impoverished Rio Grande Valley and eventually received her MA from the University of Texas. Like other visionary works such as Arthur Rimbaud's A Season In Hell or Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross, Borderlands/La Frontera is an exhilarating and demanding read, but when finished it never lets go. One for the ages.

No comments:

Post a Comment