Dedicated to the memory of the late Omar Castaneda, this collection of radical writings crosses the boundary of that which cannot be said.
The work of Omar Castaneda epitomized the new era of Latino writing that combined heart and art: hyper-arte and hyper-corazon. This anthology fulfills his vision of a collection of fiction and cross-genre prose by contemporary Latino/a writers on "unspeakable" topics.
These works upset and disturb the gentlemans agreement upon which some of the current politics of Latino identity are precariously based. These works also attain a new level of craft, a high style of writing to topple the current politics of aesthetics that threaten to oppress all writers.
New pieces by Judith Ortiz Cofer, Lionel G. Garcia, Stephen Gutierrez, MacArthur Fellow Luis Alfaro, as well as scriptwriter Rick Najera, join the voices of newcomers and never-before-released work of the late Castaneda.
Every entry catches the High Style of new thoughts, new forms, and killer prose that simultaneously sabotages the politics of the English and Spanglish languages. This writing brings together art and politics, and unites the best of several possible worlds under the Latino canopy of multi-multi-culturalism, an exponential-culturalism.
"The 'Latino heretics' whose short works are collected here, live along the borders of language between Spanish and English, poetry and prose, command and obey. They want power over words—to define "Latino" in their own terms, for instance—and they what words to overpower them. Untamed and roiling, Latino Heretics is a fine introduction to many unfamiliar writers."
—The Village Voice Literary Supplement, September 1999
"Diaz brings together a new collection of thought-provoking fiction. Latino Heretics works hard at giving us clear glimpses into very original voices. The beauty of this volume, and this is where Tony Diaz has a great ear and eye for finding talent, is the new voices he's included. We need more books like this. [It is] necessary, extremely accessible, and simply, [an] excellent and fun read."
—Virgil Suarez, The Tallahassee Democrat, October 10, 1999
Being mixed isn't as elusive as it seems. I can trace my people with my eyes closed - to Cuba, Russia, Poland. I can show you the cunt I was born with and the dick I strap on when I wanna fuck. I can point out my white skin and blond hair, trill my rrr's, or cook you a mean black beans and rice - I'll show you my list of the men I slept with before, the women I sleep with now, and tell you my fantasies of cock and rape and power that have been here all along. I can show you pictures of my clothes from little rich girl fairy princess to thirteen-year-old daughter of a single parent, working before and after school to help make ends meet. Need I mention That I'm only five foot one, weigh 117 pounds, am 23 years old? Need I mention that being mixed has both the cacophony and harmony of specific musics, smells, foods, people? That hetero and queer do not create a middle ground of bisexual, nor do Cuban and Jewish cancel each other out to become mixed heritage. It really isn't that elusive at all, this need to create something safe, and genuine, and even joyful from the "No"s, the: You can't"s, and the cries of "Traitor!" Being mixed is about taking that no, and making something out of it, that No that says if I am Jewish I can't possibly be Latina, if I get down with the boys, I can't be queer, and since my Mom owns three houses now, I can't have possibly been working since I was eleven. It's about taking that No, and nibbling at it like the shell of a nut, holding the No all hard and stubborn in my hand and picking at it until it falls apart to deliver the rich brown edible stuff inside. It's about building a sweet little cottage on the fence that separates one identity from the other, it's about sketching together a whole from many mismatched halves, and creating a multiplicitous identity as a beautiful garment from what others call rags, and making a place to lay my head in the landmine spiked battleground of cultural difference. Being mixed isn't as elusive as it seems. Being mixed is being fierce. Being mixed is being brave. Being mixed is making your fucking home on the split that people want you to run from. Being mixed is making do. Being mixed is making something lovable out of other people's leftovers.