MEZCLA: Art & Writing from the Tumblewords Project

After fourteen years of successful workshops in the greater El Paso, Texas and southern New Mexico areas, MEZCLA: Art & Writing from the Tumblewords Project has finally arrived. It's 188 pages of poetry, prose, and visual art, presented in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, coming together to form a complex pastiche in honor of the area's famous patois. From the forward by Rosa Guerrero:
"The world is a mixture, a mezcla of many different human beings. Our culture throughout the United States, but particularly here on the border with Mexico, is just such a mezcla: a tapestry, a mosaic, a quilt, and a kaleidoscope of many colors within its people. In each group, racial or ethnic, we are special and unique. Since 1995, the Tumblewords Project has reflected that tapestry that represents our culture, particularly here in the Border.
"In our families we are also different and unalike. Even in our Latino or Hispano cultures, we are dissimilar. We are a diversity within a diversity. The language from our mother Castilian Spanish differs in each Latin American country. There are rhythmic flows and definite accents in the Spanish language. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Argentineans, or Mexicans may share the same lingual roots and speak similarly, yet have different meanings for the same words and use different accents and rate of speech. Even in Mexico each region has its own way of speaking Spanish. Those from Mexico City have a definite cantadito, sonsonete or rhythmic sound. In la costa, the Atlantic coastal regions, people there swallow the final s of their words, making it sound more like the Spanish of Cubans and Puerto Rico and Nicaragua, a distinctive and melodious Spanish with a staccato beat like a fast roll of the castanets.
"Mezclas come in all varieties of people, cultures, religions and folkways, and manifests in foods, customs arts and crafts, music and dance. Diversity runs in the whole world and this mezcla of many makes us special and a unique whole. There should be unity among our people, but never at the cost of the gorgeousness of diversity. We are the notes in a chord of music. If all the notes were the same there would be no harmony, no real music. Harmony is based on differences, not similarities. We all have special gifts to offer. Let us celebrate our diversity with our mezclilla, our tapestry. We are not a melting pot, we are a tapestry. That is what my country is all about. That is what my culture is all about."

What Others Say

"Through the power of creativity, we can transcend and transform borders, turning them into gathering places where we hear one another's voices, and conspire together to create borderlands that liberate us rather than oppress us. This superb anthology is a powerful step toward this dream."
          —Demetria Martínez, author of Mother Tongue and Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana

"Quien pretenda la pureza en la poesía puede declararse desierto, des enmarcado de su historia. Pero des enmarcado en claro retroceso. Aunque también podría definir cualquier mezcla como una especie de "mal augurio". Nada escapa a esta época. Todo el mundo está en un mismo sitio. Todos estamos reunidos y a la vez terriblemente separados. Pero cuando la mezcla se da en el territorio que traspasa fronteras estamos, naturalmente, rompiendo con algo: renaciendo desde un lugar específico que no es virtual ni cibernético. Al mezclar estamos yendo hacia adelante con las propias raíces, no las raíces de metal y asbesto. Las raíces que nos hacen florecer bajo tierra. Al mezclar somos capullos que avanzan y revientan."
          —Dolores Dorantes, autora de SEXOPUROSEXOVELOZ y SEPTIEMBRE

"An exciting collection of regional poetry that captures various dimensions, perspectives and generations of the U.S.-Mexico border experience, as manifested in the greater El Paso region. Each of the contributors adds a unique flavor to the tome. The local artwork compliments the poems nicely."
          —Dennis Bixler-Marquez, author of Chicano Studies: Survey and Analysis

MEZCLA was published by Mouthfeel Press.

This project was made possible with the support of The City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department and The Texas Commission on the Arts.