Loving in the War Years: Lo Que Nunca Paso por Sus Labios (South End Press Classics Series) (English and Spanish Edition)

ISBN 10: 0896086267 / ISBN 13: 9780896086265
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Synopsis: Weaving together poetry and prose, Spanish and English, family history and political theory, Loving in the War Years has been a classic in the feminist and Chicano canon since its 1983 release. This new edition—including a new introduction and three new essays—remains a testament of Moraga's coming-of-age as a Chicana and a lesbian at a time when the political merging of those two identities was severely censured.

Drawing on the Mexican legacy of Malinche, the symbolic mother of the first mestizo peoples, Moraga examines the collective sexual and cultural wounding suffered by women since the Conquest. Moraga examines her own mestiza parentage and the seemingly inescapable choice of assimilation into a passionless whiteness or uncritical acquiescence to the patriarchal Chicano culture she was raised to reproduce. By finding Chicana feminism and honoring her own sexuality and loyalty to other women of color, Moraga finds a way to claim both her family and her freedom.

Moraga's new essays, written with a voice nearly a generation older, continue the project of "loving in the war years," but Moraga's posture is now closer to that of a zen warrior than a street-fighter. In these essays, loving is an extended prayer, where the poet-politica reflects on the relationship between our small individual deaths and the dyings of nations of people (pueblos). Loving is an angry response to the "cultural tyranny" of the mainstream art world and a celebration of the strategic use of "cultural memory" in the creation of an art of resistance.

Cherríe Moraga is the co-editor of the classic feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back and the author of The Last Generation. She is Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University.

Review: "I am a Chicana lesbian. My own particular relationship to being a sexual person; and a radical stand in direct contradiction to, and in violation of, the women I was raised to be." Through the poetry, prose, and personal stories in Loving in the War Years, Cherrie Moraga explores this contradiction, weaving her confusion and pain with her eventual self-acceptance. She writes about prejudices she suffers because she is half-white and a lesbian born in a Catholic, Chicano culture. She tells of her frustrations with the importance men were given as she was growing up and the exclusion of lesbian women of color from the women's movement. In her struggles, she draws from those parts of her upbringing which are necessary to her physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being - the love of her mother's home, the sense of community among Chicana women, the smell of the candles in church, and the spiritual need to respect something beyond herself - creating a portrait of beauty, anger, and independence. "Spirituality which inspires activism and, similarly, politics which move the spirit - which draw from the deep-seated place of our greatest longings for freedom - give meaning to our lives." Some knowledge of Spanish may be helpful with these writings, but even without it Cherrie Moraga's words will touch your heart and your mind. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith

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