Archive for May 6th, 2008

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Notre Dame Announces Launch of Latino Poetry Review

May 6, 2008

One final Latino-inspired post for the day. Late last month the University of Notre Dame’s Letras Latinas program announced the launch of their online magazine Latino Poetry Review. According to their mission statement, LPR is dedicated to publishing “book reviews, essays, and interviews with an eye towards spurring inquiry and dialogue.”

There are several inter- and re-views over there right now and I encourage all those interested in Latino literature or poetry to pop over there and check it out. It’s a new venture in a lot of ways so I’m sure they would appreciated your feedback.

Here’s mine: Publish some poems.

I know it’s not in the mission statement and the journal is clearly out to plant itself in the critical realm rather than in artistic production but, I fail to see how the two aren’t integrally connected. The Institute for Latino Studies there at ND has already published several books of poetry by Latin American-American authors and with LPR they are poised to take on a central role in the Latino literary arts. It seems strange with the limitless space of the internet, they wouldn’t try to either 1) cross promote their own publications or 2) provide a venue for finding future poets to publish.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Indiana Immigration Timeline

May 6, 2008

It’s immigration day here on Hoosierati, which I suppose is OK since Immigration is the theme for the year at the Indiana Humanities Council (this blog’s mothership). As I was sailing the sea of (inter)tubes I ran across this neat immigration timeline from the Indiana Historical Society. Basically it does a side-by-side comparison of economic pull factors here in Indiana and various governmental responses to the immigration that followed.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Goshen, Indiana and Apan, (Hidalgo), Mexico

May 6, 2008

The relationship that Indianapolis, Indiana, USA has with Tala, Jalisco, MX (described in the previous post) is very similar to the one between Goshen, Indiana, USA and Apan, Hidalgo, MX–as highlighted in this write-up in Goshen’s Bulletin and in the documentary described therein.

I first learned of Fuerza while attending the 6th Annual Statewide Conference on Latino Affairs last October (but have sadly yet to get my hands on a copy). My guess is that this is not a unique phenomena at all, and in fact is indicative of the one of the larger drivers of immigration.

Economic incentive is clearly the major driver, but that only informs us that immigration will happen, it does not really explain from where immigrants will arrive or where they will decide to settle. That seems to be determined by reasons of social capital. New immigrants will seek out locales near where friends and family from the source country have gone.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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Más Información de Tala (More Information about Tala)

May 6, 2008

IUPUI Professor of History Michael Snodgrass, in the course of researching his new book on Mexican immigration, recently visited and returned from a trip to a town called Tala in Mexico’s western state of Jalisco (famous source of tequila).

Tala enjoys a very special relationship with Indianapolis, which Snodgrass outlined and explored in an article in Indianapolis’ alternative news weekly, Nuvo, last November. Totally worth a read.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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El Sol de Tala is Back!

May 6, 2008

Those that know me know that I love Mexican food. Let me be clear: I’m not one of those people that says “I love Mexican food,” and is ignorant of the fact that there is no such thing as “Mexican food.” I’m aware that each region of the land south of the Rio Grande is marked first and foremost by a dedication to their own special centuries-old ingredients and practices. I simply love all the food from all the regions. And I’m always on the lookout for good Mexican food.

For some reason many people seem to think that the criteria for “good” ethnic cuisine is related to “authenticity.” I’m not one of those people. One of my kitchen staples is Rick Bayless’s Mexico One Plate at a Time. Each class of recipe in the book has at least one authentic version and a more contemporary version. In many instances the latter is simply better…to me. A lot of authentic cuisine became so out of necessity. And while necessity may be the mother of invention, she is not always the mother of great dining.

At any rate, I’m just saying: I don’t know if El Sol de Tala is “authentic” or not but it is delicious.

I was first introduced to El Sol when I first began my Spanish studies at IUPUI about four years ago. Even just four years ago it was very hard to find good Mexican dining in Indianapolis and El Sol was, ahem, an illuminating experience for me. It shot to the top of my “favorite Indianapolis restaurants” list–not just Mexican restaurants, but all restaurants. The staff was friendly, the ambiance laid-back but not cheap. The food, it bears repeating, was fantastic.

Then it closed down.

And stayed closed down for 18 months (or so).

In the last year and a half several new individually-owned Mexican diners have opened up, most of them offering Mexican food I would identify as authentic because it matched the quality and style of food I was used to getting when I was (briefly) living in Guanajuato, Mexico two years ago. It’s good food. I was scared that when El Sol returned (if it returned) it would suffer diminished esteem since it would now be compared, not to Taco Bell and El Rodeo, but to the tacos para llevar class of restaurant that had arrived in its absence.

Well, I’m happy to say that it is not the case. At all. I don’t know if the improvements are grand enough to have warranted 18 months without them, but after having gone last night I can attest that the quality dining experience is back and almost certainly better than before, regardless of who’s doing the judging.

They’ve trimmed the menu and the prices are a little higher than I remember but it’s worth it. I had the vegetarian enchiladas (Tres Amigos) and my girlfriend had the Chiles Rellenos (no meat) and both dishes were exceptional. Even the side staples: Mexican rice and refried (black) beans were excellent. The chips are absolutely nothing special but the salsa was better than I remember it. I’m not sure if they changed the recipe or not.

It could very well be that I don’t remember how great El Sol used to be, but it seems to me that they renovated more than the walls, and when a great restaurant gets better, you know you’re in for something special.

This entry was posted by: Jim