Poetics of the "Majority Minority"

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Contribution to Book

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My mother taught me to do laundry when I was a child in South Texas. To hang the clothes of our large family on a line, a soga, out on the yard to dry in the hot Texas sun. The color and size of the pieces dictated how and where on the line I was to pin them with the wooden horquillas, clothespins. I thought that such a skill would serve me for the rest of my life. But that was not to be. I have not hung clothes on a line in decades, and my friend tells me that now computer programs perform the calculations for analyses that only ten years ago had to be done by calculators and earlier than that by hand! As is often the case, we have moved on, and the old ways are no longer viable or needed. It is so with many of the skills that we learned fifty years ago, and for sure it will be so of what we are learning now in fifty years’ time. It is not our parents’ poetry, or our grandparents’ for that matter. We have come a long way, but we have a long way to go. Yet, the future looks bright. Due to our growing numbers and our growing stature in the arts in the United States, we will integrate into the fabric of the literary fabric of this country. But it is this threat that incites much of the reactionary politics at this juncture almost twenty years into the twenty-first century. The Latina/o community in the United States is currently experiencing considerable antipathy from much of the nation as it is poised, by virtue of demographic trends, to form the numerically largest population group by 2050. Having surpassed the African American population to become the largest minority group in the early 2000s, Latinas/os have only slowly gained visibility as something other than a secondary, “pathological” population but nonetheless are still plagued by accusations of illegality and criminality in an atmosphere charged by twenty-first century fears of terrorism. The poetry of our times reflects this situation and offers surcease as it points forward. In this brief paper, I explore the past, the present, and the future of our poetics and offer a grounding of the vision that poets offer us as we grapple with our contemporary realities.


John Morán González & Laura Lomas




Cambridge University Press





Publication Information

The Cambridge History of Latina/o American Literature