Rivero: Culture drives Latina literature
By KATIE MILLER
Eliana Rivero's experience as a Cuban-American woman was a confusing combination of cultures.
"I felt like hybrid tropical fruit transported to the desert," Rivero said. "We were people hollering to be let in and to tell our stories."
Rivero found an outlet in which to express her frustration and consequently, tell those stories. As the author of "Boleros" in the forthcoming collection "Latina Feminist Testimonies: Papelitos Guardados," Rivero's writing is definitive of many Latina's writing.
Rivero said the combination of two cultures explains the sense of searching is often at the core of Latina-American writing.
Rivero also expressed the theme of sensuality as a very relevant characteristic of Latina- American writing.
"American Latina writers write with joy," she said. "They explore the power of sensory memory. Their world is sometimes dark, but filled with passion. When writing in English, many Latina writers go back to Spanish words occasionally as a punctuation of the heart."
Rivero read passages from books written by Latina-American authors.
A passage from "Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories" by Sandra Cisneros tells the monologue of a woman whose husband is an abusive alcoholic. Other passages had more passionate themes such as making love in Spanish.
Rivero also read from works that reflected the importance of family in the Latin-American culture.
"The mother-daughter relationship is a central theme, along with childhood memories and sensuous language," said Rivero. "The language is crafted with precise culturing."
Rivero is excited about the influence of American Latina writers.
"I feel very much like dreaming, hollering, and dancing," Rivero said.
Rivero was born in Cuba and lived there until she immigrated to the United States in 1961 at the age of 17. Her work has focused on Latin America and Latinos in the United States, specifically their influence on poetry and women's literature.
All News Stories for Tuesday, October 12, 1999