“This is an interview with five contributors to Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzaldúan Borderlands (Aunt Lute Books, 2016). All five poets have an intimate relationship with the Río Grande Valley: Veronica Sandoval, Rodney Gomez, José Antonio Rodríguez, and David Bowles all grew up or around the RGV, and Emmy Pérez has lived there since 2000. The Río Grande Valley is a landscape that inspired much of Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa, who famously wrote: ‘The US-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country — a border culture.’ With so much uncertainty since the November election, I wanted to hear what poets have been thinking about and building. Specifically, poets navigating (or who have navigated) the physical landscape of the US borderlands.
“I spent the morning of May Day re-reading the responses of these poets, and once I closed my laptop, marches for the ‘Day Without an Immigrant’ had bloomed and erupted through San Francisco and Oakland. The nahuatl word that David Bowles talks about in this interview rang particularly potent that day: ‘chīhualoyān’, a time for making.”