Work Title: Cantos de Adolescencia (Songs of Youth)
Work Author(s): Americo Paredes Manzano, author; Ben V. Olguin and Omar Vasquez Barbosa, translators
Arte Publico Press
Reviewer: Sandy McKinney
Born of Mexican heritage in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, this self-proclaimed "Pocho" poet began his career by winning every literary contest available in his area. Since school only offered studies in English, his first poems were in that language, but before he was of legal age he had already developed a passionate pride in his Hispanic origin.
Translators Olguin and Barbosa have not only written an intensively-researched review of Paredes' life and obra, but have included clippings from The Americo Paredes Papers, archived in the University of Texas at Austin. The collection includes articles, letters, and critiques, plus juvenilia. These poems were written between 1932 and 1937.
To begin his introduction, Olguin quotes:
"iSoy pocho! Dios me haga / orgullo de los pochos / asi como los pochos son / mi orgullo. // Quisiera llegar a ser / el orgullo de los pochos. (I'm Pocho! May God make me / pride of the Pochos / just as Pochos are / my pride. // I would like to become / the pride of the Pochos.)" and continues:
"When Americo Paredes wrote this short limerick in his mid-twenties, he could never...