Annotated Bibliography of Queer Chicana (and a few Latina) Fictions

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Please read all Notes and Disclaimers.


This is by no means a complete bibliography of all Chicana Lesbian writers. It may serve an introductory guide to fiction and drama by and about Chicana lesbians. I'm always looking for more to read, so if you come across something you love or hate by a Chicana or Latina lesbian writer, please email me
This annotated bibliography is arranged in chronological order of publication/performance. While not laying claim to a "tradition" in Chicana and Latina lesbian literature, I do believe that an understanding of the chronology facilitates appreciation of different genealogies in Chicana lesbian fiction.


Bibliography Under Construction

Copyright 1997-2003 Catriona Rueda Esquibel

[ 1971 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 |1999 |2000 |2001 |2002 |2003|Works in Progress]


Portillo Trambley, Estela. 1971. "Day of the Swallows."


Morena, Naomi Littlebear. Survivors: A Lesbian Rock Opera. 1980. Excerpt reprinted as "Coming Out Queer and Brown" in For Lesbians Only: A Seperatist Anthology. London: Onlywomen Press, 1988. 345-347.


Carrillo, Jo. 1981. "Maria Littlebear." Lesbian Fiction: An Anthology. Ed. Bulkin. Watertown, MA: Persephone Press. 17-23.

Gamez, Rocky. 1981. "From The Gloria Stories."Conditions 7 : 50-56.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. 1981. "All Things Being Equal." Christopher Street (November).

-----. 1981. "With Friends Like These." Lesbian Voices, (Fall).

-----. 1981. "A Friend of the Family" Focus: A Journal for Lesbians. (September-October).

Villanueva, Alma Luz. 1981. "Golden glass." Bilingual Review Vol. 8, no. 2-3 (May-December), 70-72. Reprinted in Hispanics in the United States : an anthology of creative literature, vol. 2, ed. Jimenez and Keller. Ypsilanti, MI: Bilingual Review/Editorial Bilingue, 1982, 70-72.; and Growing Up Latino, ed. Augenbraum and Stavans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993, 259-263.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1982. "El Paisano is a Bird of Good Omen." Conditions 8 (Spring 1982):28-47.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. 1982. Faultline. Tallahassee, FL: The Naiad Pres.

++Paz, Juana Maria. 1982. "Frankly My Dear...I'm Eating." Common Lives/LESBIAN LIVES, a lesbian quarterly 6 (Winter 1982):53-65.


Gamez, Rocky. 1983. "Dona Marciana Garcia." Cuentos. Ed. Gomez, Moraga and Romo-Carmona. New York: Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press. 7-15.

++Mohr, Nicholasa. "An Awakening...Summer 1956." Revista Chicano-Riquena, V 11 no 3-4 (Fall 1983):107-112. Volume reprinted as Woman of Her Word: Hispanic Women Write. Ed. Vigil. Houston: Arte Publico, 1987.

Moraga, Cherrie. 1983. Loving in the War Years: lo que nunca paso por sus labios. Boston: South End Press.


Cisneros, Sandra. 1984. The House on Mango Street. Reprinted 1991. New York: Vintage.

Villanueva, Alma Luz. 1984. "The Ripening." Bilingual Review Vol. 11, no. 2 (May-August), 78-88.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1985. "People Should Not Die in June in South Texas."

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. 1985. Spring Forward/Fall Back. Tallahassee, FL: The Naiad Pres.


de la Pena, Terri. 1986. "Once a Friend" and "A Saturday in August" Third Prize in University of California at Irvine's Chicano Literary Competition. Published 1989 (below).

Moraga, Cherrie. 1986. Giving Up the Ghost: Teatro in Two Acts. Los Angeles: West End Press.

++Obejas, Achy. "Polaroids." Third Woman Vol. 3, no. 1-2 (1986): 49-54.


Cenen. 1987. "The Love Making" Companeras. Ed. Ramos. New York: Latina Lesbian History Project. 141-143.

Chavez, Denise. 1987. The Last of the Menu Girls. Houston: Arte Publico.

++Hidalgo, Hilda. 1987. "El ser yo no es un lujo." Companeras. Ed. Ramos. New York: Latina Lesbian History Project. 72-76.

Ramos, Juanita [Diaz], ed. 1987. Companeras: Latina Lesbians - An Anthology. New York: Latina Lesbian History Project. Reprint New York: Routledge, 1994.


Gamez, Rocky. 1988. "A Baby for Adela." Politics of the Heart. Ed. Pollack and Vaughn. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books. 100-110.

Morena, Naomi Littlebear. "Coming Out Queer and Brown" in For Lesbians Only: A Seperatist Anthology. London: Onlywomen Press, 1988. 345­347.

Otero, Rosalie. 1988. "Amelia." Voces. Ed. Anaya. Albuquerque: El Norte Publicationa. 7-18.

Villanueva, Alma Luz. The Ultraviolet Sky. Tempe, Ariz.: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue, 1988. Reprint New York: Anchor Books, 1993.


Alarcon, Norma, Ana Castillo, and Cherrie Moraga, eds. 1989. The sexuality of Latinas [special issue of Third Woman]. Third Woman Vol. 4. Reprint Berkeley: Third Woman Press, 1993.

Anzaldua, Gloria. 1989. "La historia de una marimacha."Third Woman 4:64-68.

---. "Lifeline." Lesbian Love Stories Ed. Zahava. Freedom, Calif.: The Crossing Press, 1989

de la Pena, Terri. 1989. "La Maya." Intricate Passions. Ed. Corinne. Austin: Banned Books. 1-10.

-----. "Once a Friend." The One You Call Sister. Ed. Martinac. San Francisco: Cleis Press. 49-62.

-----. "Tortilleras." Lesbian Bedtime Stories. Ed. Woodrow. Willits, Calif.: Tough Dove Books. 83-92.

del Fuego, Laura. Maravilla. 1989.

Gamez, Rocky. 1989. "A Slow, Sweet Kind of Death." Intricate Passions. Ed. Corrinne. Austin: Banned Books. 65-74.

Moraga, Cherrie. 1989. "Shadow of a Man" [excerpt] Out/Look Summer 1989: 46-51.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1990. "She Ate Horses." Lesbian Philosophies and Cultures. Ed. Allen. Albany: NY: State University of New York Press. 371-388.

Cordova, Jeanne. 1990. Kicking the Habit. Los Angeles: Multiple Dimensions.

de la Pena, Terri. 1990. "Blue." Riding Desire. Ed. Corrinne. Austin: Banned Books. 149-153.

-----. 1990. "Labrys." Word of Mouth. Ed. Zahava. Freedom, Calif.: The Crossing Press. 31.

-----. "Mariposa." Lesbian Bedtime Stories 2. Ed. Woodrow. Willits, Calif.: Tough Dove Books. 7-19.

-----. "Tres Mujeres." Frontiers 11 (1):60-64.

Escamill, Edna. 1990. "Cajitas, an excerpt from the novel Daughter of the Mountain." Puerto del Sol 25:1-2. 217-222.

Gamez, Rocky. 1990. "A Matter of Fact." Riding Desire. Ed. Corrinne. Austin: Banned Books. 36-43.

Moraga, Cherrie. 1990. "La Ofrenda." Out/Look #10 (Fall): 50-55. Reprinted in Chicana Lesbians, ed. Trujillo. Berkeley: Third Woman, 3-9; An Intimate Wilderness, ed. Barrington, Portland, Or.: Eighth Mountain Press, 1991; On Our Backs (n.d.); Women on Women 2, ed. Holoch and Nestle, New York: Plume, 1993.

-----. 1990. "The Shadow of a Man." Produced by BRAVA! for Womenin the Arts and the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco, November 1990. Reprinted in Shattering the Myth, ed. Feyder. Houston: Arte Publico, 1992, 9-49; and Heroes and Saints & Other Plays. Boston: South End Press, 1994, 37-84.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. 1990. Southbound. Tallahassee, FL: The Naiad Pres.

Palacios, Monica. 1990. "La Llorona Loca: The Other Side." Lesbian Bedtime Stories 2. Ed. Woodrow. Willits, Calif.: Tough Dove Press, 174-7. Reprinted Chicana Lesbians, ed. Trujillo. Berkeley:Third Woman Press, 1991, 49-51.

++Yo, la peor de todas. Dir. Maria Luisa Bemberg. Screenplay by Ma. Luisa Bemberg and Antonio Larreta. Adapted from Las trampas de fe by Octavio Paz. 105 minutes. Argentina: GEA Cinematografica. Dist. First Run/Icarus Films, 1990.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1991. "Ms. Right, My True Love, My Soul Mate." Lesbian Love Stories, Volume 2. Ed. Zahava. Freedom, Calif.: The Crossing Press. 184-188.

de la Pena, Terri. 1991. "Beyond El Camino Real." Chicana Lesbians. Ed. Trujillo. Berkeley: Third Woman Press. 85-94.

-----. 1991. "Desert Quartet." Lesbian Love Stories. Ed. Zahava. Freedom , Calif.: The Crossing Press. 154-161.

-----. 1991. "Mujeres Morenas." Lesbian Love Stories. Ed. Zahava. Freedom , Calif.: The Crossing Press. 85-93.

Escamill, Edna. 1991. Daughter of the Mountain. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

-----. 1991. "The saga of pan birote y los tres chilis." Saguara Literary Journal 7: 41-47. Reprinted in Pieces of the Heart. Ed. Soto. San Francisco, Chronicle Books, 1993. Also reprinted in The Storyteller With Nike Airs and Other Barrio Stories.

++Gomez-Vega, Ibis. 1991. Send My Roots Rain. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation.

Palacios, Monica. 1991. "Personality Fabulosa." OUT/LOOK 4 (2):32-37.

Perez, Emma. 1991. "Gulf Dreams." Chicana Lesbians. Ed. Trujillo. Berkeley: Third Woman Press. 96-108.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1992. "Ghost Trap." New Chicana/Chicano Writing 1. Ed. Tatum. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 40-42. Reprinted Currents From the Dancing River. Ed Gonzalez. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. 116-118.

-----. 1992. "Puddles." New Chicana/Chicano Writing 1. Ed. Tatum. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 43-45. Reprinted Currents From the Dancing River. Ed Gonzalez. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. 118-120.

de la Pena, Terri. 1992. Margins. Seattle: Seal Press.

-----. 1992 Territories. Winner of the 1992 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest (Short Story Collection). See Works in Progress, below.

Escamill, Edna. "Black Orchid." Sinister Wisdom 47 (Summer/Fall 1992) 78-81.

Esquibel, Catriona Rueda. 1992. "La Karla." Monologue in the series Amor Picante Pero Sabrosa. Produced by the Latina Lab of Su Teatro, at the Eulipons Theatre, Denver, Colorado.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. 1992. "Cimarrona." Without Discovery. Ed. Gonzalez. Seattle: Broken Moon Press, 91-112.

-----. 1992. "Excerpts from the Sapphic diary of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz." Frontiers, 12.3. 171-9. Reprinted 1995 in Tasting Life Twice: Lesbian Literary Fiction by New American Writers. Ed. Levy. New York: Avon Books.

-----. 1992. "Juana Ines." New Chicano/Chicano Writing 1. Ed. Tatum,. Tucson: University of Arizona. 1-15. Reprinted 1993 in Growing Up Chicana/o. Ed. Lopez. New York, Willam Morrow & Co.

Moraga, Cherrie. 1992. "Heroes and Saints." Reprinted 1994. Heroes and Saints & Other Plays. Boston: South End Press. 85-149.

Villanueva, Alma Luz. 1992. "People of the Dog." Mirrors beneath the Earth, ed. Gonzalez. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 55-58. Reprinted in Weeping Woman: La Llorona and Other Stories, Tempe, Ariz.: Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingue, 1994.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1993. Friends from the Other Side=Amigos del Otro Lado. San Francisco: Children's Book Press.

Castillo, Ana. 1993. So Far From God. New York: W.W.Norton.

Forte-Escamilla, Kleya [Edna Escamill]. 1994. Mada: An Erotic Novel. Sister Vision: Black Women and Women of Colour Press.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. 1993. The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories. Tempe, Arizona: Blingual Press/Editorial Bilngue.

++Gomez, Marga. 1993? "Memory Tricks." Teatro,

Villanueva, Alma Luz. 1993. "Her Choice." Infinite Divisions, ed. Rebolledo and Rivero. Tucson: University of Arizona, 337-340.


++Brincando el Charco: Portrait of A Puerto Rican. Dir. and screenplay by Frances Negron-Muntaner. 55 minutes. On 35mm and VHS. Distributed by Women Make Movies, 1994.

++Carmelita Tropicana:Your Kunst is Your Waffen. Dir. Ela Troyano. Screenplay by Carmelita Tropicana [Alina Troyano] and Ela Troyano. Music by Fernando Rivas. ITVS Dist. First Run/ICARUS Films, 1994.

de la Pena, Terri. 1994. Latin Satins. Seattle: The Seal Press.

Forte-Escamilla, Kleya. 1994. The Storyteller With Nike Airs and Other Barrio Stories. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Foundation.

Garcia, Angela. 1994. "Yo Yo." Beyond Definition: New Writing from Gay and Lesbian San Francisco. Ed. Marci Blackman and Trebor Healey. San Francisco: Manic D Press, 1994.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. 1994. "Malinche's rights." Currents From the Dancing River: Contemporary Latino Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Ed. Gonzalez. New York: Harcourt Brace. 261-266. Translation of 1993 "Los derechos de la Malinche," The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories 47-52.

++Gomez, Marga. 1994? "Marga Gomez Is Pretty, Witty, and Gay." Teatro,

Moraga, Cherrie. 1994. Heroes and Saints & Other Plays. Boston: South End Press.

++Obejas, Achy. 1994. We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? Pittsburgh and San Francisco: Cleis Press.

Villanueva, Alma Luz. 1994. "Maya [from Dream]". Currents from the Dancing River, ed. Tatum. New York: Harcourt Brace, 275-291.

-----. 1994. Naked Ladies.

-----. 1994. Weeping Woman: La Llorona and Other Stories. Tempe AZ: Bilingual Press.


Anzaldua, Gloria. 1995. Prietita and the Ghost Woman/ Prietita y la Llorona. San Francisco: Children's Book Press.

Chavez, Denise. 1995. The Face of an Angel. New York: Warner Books.

++Gomez, Marga. 1995. "A Line Around the Block." Teatro,


de la Pena, Terri. 1996. "Caballito del Diablo." Out For Blood 2?. Ed. Brownworth: Third Side Press.

-----. "Refugio." 1996. Night Bites. Ed. Brownworth: Seal Press.

Moraga, Cherrie. 1996. "Watsonville: Some Place Not Here." Dir. Amy Mueller. San Francisco: Brava Theater Center.

++Obejas, Achy.  1996. Memory Mambo. San Francisco: Cleis Press.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila.  1996. Imaginary Parents. Art by Sandra Ortiz Taylor. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Perez, Emma. 1996.  Gulf Dreams. Berkeley: Third Woman Press.


++Lopez, Erika. 1997. Flying Iguanas: An Illustrated All-GirlRoad Novel Thing. New York: Simon and Schuster.

-----.  1997. Lap Dancing For Mommy: Tender Stories of Disgust, Blame and Inspiration. Seattle: Seal Press.



++Levins Morales, Aurora. Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueñas. Boston: Beacon Press.

++Lopez, Erika. 1998.  They Call Me Mad Dog!: A Story for Bitter, Lonely People. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. 1998. Coachella. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.



Alderete, Pat. "Fire." In Hers 3: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers. Ed. Terry Wolverton. Boston: Faber and Faber. 147-151.

de la Pena, Terri. Faults. Boston: Alyson Press.

de la Pena, Terri, with Cynthia Chin Lee and Enrique O. Sanchez. A Is For the Americas. (Children's book, with illustrations).  Orchard Books.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. Sor Juana's Second Dream. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

Limón, Graciela. The Day of the Moon. Houston: Arte Publico Press.

Montes, Amelia M. de la Luz. "While Pilar Tobillo Sleeps." In Hers 3: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers. Ed. Terry Wolverton. New York: Faber and Faber. 9-21.

Pendleton Jimenez, Karleen. "The Lake at the End of the Wash."  in Hers3: Brilliant New Fiction by Lesbian Writers. Ed. Terry Wolverton, and Robert Drake. New York: Faber and Faber. 177-181.


++Alvarez, Julia. In the Name of Salomé. NewYork: Penguin Putnam.

Montes, Amelia de la Luz. "R is for Ricura" In Circa 2000: Lesbian Fiction at the Millenium. Ed. Terry Wolverton and Robert Drake. New York: Alyson.

Moraga, Cherrie. "Heart of the Earth: A Popol Vuh Story". In Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez and Nancy Saporta Sternbach, eds. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2000.

Moraga, Cherrie."The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea." In Out of the Fringe: Contemporary Latina/Latino Theatre and Performance. Caridad Svich and María Teresa Marrero, eds. New York: Theatre Communications Group. 289-363.

Moraga, Cherrie. "I." In Plays from the South Coast Reportory: Hispanic Playwright's Project. Luis Alfaro, ed. New York: Broadway Play Publishing.

Palacios, Monica. "Greetings from a Queer Señorita." In Out of the Fringe: Contemporary Latina/Latino Theatre and Performance. Caridad Svich and María Teresa Marrero, eds. New York: Theatre Communications Group. 365-391.

Palacios, Monica. "Describe Your Work." In Puro Teatro: A Latina Anthology, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez and Nancy Saporta Sternbach, eds. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 281-4.

++Troyano, Alina, et al. I, Carmelita Tropicana: Performing Between Cultures. Boston: Bluestreak/Beacon.


Limón, Graciela. Erased Faces. Houston: Arte Publico.

Moraga, Cherrie. The Hungry Woman and Heart of the Earth. Albuquerque: West End Press.

++Obejas, Achy. Days of Awe. New York: Ballantine Books.



Moraga, Cherrie. Watsonville and A Circle in the Dirt.Albuquerque: West End Press.


Trujillo, Carla. What Night Brings. Willamantic, CT.


Works Unpublished and In Progress

Anzaldua, Gloria. "La Prieta." (A collection of short fiction.)

de la Pena, Terri. "Territories." Berkeley: Third Woman Press. Winner of the 1992 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest: Short Story Collection. University of California, Irvine.

Esquibel, Catriona Rueda. "Familia Is a Story We Make Up:Teatro Lesbiano in Three Acts." 1998 Chicano/Latino Literary Contest: Drama, Second Prize.

Ortiz Taylor, Sheila. "Extranjera." (A novel of Arden Benbow.)

Pendleton Jimenez, Karleen. "Not Everyone Turns Pink Under the Sun."

Perez, Emma. "Forgetting the Alamo." (A novel of 1848.)


Annotations to the Bibliography

Estela Portillo Trambley's Day of the Swallows

According to Roberta Fernandez, "'The Day of the Swallows' first appeared in a single issue of El Grito,[4:3, 1971] then was incorporated into the second edition (1972) of El espejo, the first anthology of contemporary Chicano literature." Fernandez discusses Portillo Trambley at length and her significance for the development of Chicana literature. She points out the way in which Portillo Trambley has been overlooked and trivialized by Chicana/o scholarship.

Janice Dewey concurs with Fernandez regarding the first publication. She reads "Day of the Swallows" as being in the tradition of Federico Garcia Lorca, in particular La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936). As a lesbian, Dewey voices her initial unease with how Portillo Trambley chose her subject matter:

The plot is about lesbians; I knew nothing about them, but I was going to sell it. Well, it got published, it appeared in four anthologies, I get invited to talk about it, it gets analyzed to death, and it's a play I wrote in a very short time and for a terrible reason. I was just being mercenary. (Portillo Trambley 170, quoted in Dewey 40)

While Dewey admires Portillo Trambley's subversion she describes the latter as "creat[ing] theater of tragedy around a central character who integrates both a culture she admittedly knows nothing about with one she knows intimately. In the end, both lesbians and Chicanos live marginal and often repressed lives..." (41) Dewey's distinction between "lesbians" and "Chicanos" and her articulation of them as two "cultures" ultimately minimizes the significance Portillo Trambley's representation of a Chicana lesbiana, marginalized, sensationalized and tragic, to be sure, but also certainly also highly visible figure in Chicana/o representation who is both Chicana and lesbian.

In her review of Portillo Trambley's novel Trini (1986), Cherrie Moraga gives the creation date for "Day of the Swallows" as 1969. Moraga discusses the impact "Day of the Swallows," as representing the "taboo subject of Mexican female desire" as well as setting the stage for the development of Chicana lesbian literature.

"The Day of the Swallows was published in El Grito Vol. 4, no. 3 (Spring, 1971), p. 4-47, and reprinted in Contemporary Chicano Theater (Garza 1976, 205-245), and, more recently, in The Woman That I Am: A Woman of Color Anthology (1994, 358-390).

Works cited:

Dewey, Janice. "Dona Josefa: Bloodpulse of Transition and Change." Breaking Boundaries. Ed. Asuncion Horno-Delgado, et al. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989. 39-47.

Fernandez, Roberta. "Abriendo caminos in the brotherland: Chicana writers respond to the ideology of literary nationalism." Frontiers 14.2 (1994): 23-51.

Moraga, Cherrie. "The Obedient Daughter." Third Woman IV (1989)/The Sexuality of Latinas. Third Woman Press: 1993.157-162.

Portillo Trambley, Estela. Interview from Chicano Authors: Inquiry by Interview, Bruce-Novoa. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980.
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"Maria Littlebear"

I only recently found this short story by Jo Carrillo--best-known for her poem "And When You Leave, Take Your Pictures With You" in This Bridge Called My Back--and I'm very excited by it, not the least because it's set in northern New Mexico. It begins with a pilgrimage to Holman to see the face of God on a chapel wall.

The story, told by Maria Littlebear, is about her partner Elisa Alvarado, about Elisa's father, "Esteban the cabron," her mother and her abuelita, about when Elisa "decided to love women, not men" at age five, about Anglo/Mexican race relations in New Mexico in the 1940's and 50's, about not believing the stories you are told but instead telling your own stories.
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"from The Gloria Stories"

The first of Gamez's continuing Gloria stories, introduces us to Gloria, that irrepressible butch, and Rocky, our celibate "schoolgirl" narrator. Gloria decides to quit running around with whores and finds a nice girl to settle down with, and even manages a church wedding. It's her ambition to become a father that makes Rocky step in. This story was originally published in 1981, and has been widely reprinted:

[ Home | Top | Back to 1981 ]

"El Paisano Is a Bird of Good Omen"

Main character is Andrea de la Cruz, the eldest daughter of a land-owning tejano family. The setting is the occasion of her wedding to Zenobio Rios. Other characters: Andrea's mother (unnamed), Dona Ines (Zenobio's mother), Tio Efrain, Belinda Lopez, Jose Manuel Flores. When the marimacha is betrothed to the maricon, with whom will she dance at the wedding?

The story emphasizes Andrea's connections (erotic and otherwise) with nature.

Originally published in Conditions 8 (Spring 1982): 28-47. Reprinted in Cuentos: Stories by Latinas (1983, 153-175). An excerpt from a novel in progress.
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"People Should Not Die in June in South Texas."

One of Anzaldua's "Prietita" stories: Prieta attends her father's funeral.
Publication history:

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"La historia de una marimacha."

In Spanish.

Told in first person by the marimacha in question, tells of the courtship of her novia, the father's prohibition, and the lovers' elopement. Lots of bravado and drama: the story ends with a corrido.

Rebolledo discusses the story as:

Anzaldua's creation of a lesbian Chicana mythos....In 'La historia,' Anzaldua enters into the timeless, mythic wold of archetypes when she creates the romance of two women in some mythic/historic time in Mexico.....The narration is not only a romance, after the tragic romances of Spain, it is also a corrido of life and vengeance. Written in Spanish, Anzaldua uses colloquial language to situate the tale in a mythic time. That the women win is certainly an event, since women hardly ever had the upper hand in these tales. (201).

Originally published in Third Woman 4 (1989), which was reissued by Third Woman Press as The Sexuality of Latinas, (1993): 64-68.

Critical works cited:

Rebolledo, Tey Diana. Women singing in the snow : a cultural analysis of Chicana literature. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1995.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1989 ]

Yo, La Peor de Todas

[I, the Worst of All.]

Credits: Director, Maria Luisa Bemberg ; producer, Lita Stantic ; photographic direction, Felix Monti ; music by Luis Maria Serra.

Performers: Assumpta Serna, Dominique Sanda, Hector Alterio.

This historical drama tells the story of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, one of the greatest poets of the Spanish Siglo de Oro. In order to pursue her passion for writing, Juana enters the convent. There, she develops an intimate relationship with the vicereine, who inspires her poetry. But when the forces of the Inquisition invade the convent, the women have only each other to turn to. (Distributor's synopsis)

[ Home | Top | Back to 1990 ]

Send My Roots Rain

Book Reviews:

de la Pena, Terri. "Send My Roots Rain" Lambda Book Report 3.4 (May_June 1992): 34.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1991

Book Reviews of Margins

Cosme, Rose. "One Chicana lesbiana's view of Margins" Rev. of Margins, by Terri de la Pena. esto no tiene nombre 2.2 (invierno 1993): 7.

Terri de la Pena's Margins creates a lesbiana character that overcomes the obstacles of a tragic car accident, defining her artistic identity, girlfriend dilemmas and coming out woes as she discovers her Chicana roots....

Cosme takes de la Pena to task for the benign racism of the Melendez family and the way in which it is accepted without question by protagonist Veronica.

Other book reviews:

Daly, Mary Ann. "A Study in Character: Terri de la Pena's Latina Lesbians Light Up the Page." Review of Margins, by Terri de la Pena. Lambda Book Report 3 (5):15. 1992.

Daly is most enthusiastic about the tall, dark, and handsome Tejana, Rene Talamantes:

Roni can't resist for long, and neither can the reader. This woman may not exist, but she's such a relief, she's believable: that in this world of the shy and insecure, where even the most courageous lesbians must struggle with our training in hesitation, Rene knows herself, loves herself, knows what she wants, and gets it.

Robinson, Regan. Review of Margins, by Terri de la Pena. Library Journal 117 (5):124. 1992.

The process is all in this story. As the young woman regains her strength and learns new skills, she realizes that with kindness but toughness she can face her family and the rest of the world openly.

Review of Margins, by Terri de la Pena. Publishers Weekly 239 (15):66. 1992.

Wolverton, Terry. "Hot Reads for a Summer Night: The Books of Summer." Review of Margins, by Terri de la Pena. Advocate 604:40. 1992
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"Black Orchid"

Originally published in Sinister Wisdom 47 (Summer/Fall 1992) 78-81.

This short story by Edna Escamill attempts to portray adolescent desire. Chula haunts the alley behind the lesbian bar after school, still wearing her Catholic school uniform, watching for the butch in the black Impala, "the woman who dressed like a man." The issue of consent is heavily weighted.

Escamill's in-text translation of Spanish words and phrases can prove frustrating or distracting for bilingual readers: "Te agarra una de esas, y ningun hombre te quiere de mujer. If one of those women touches you, no man will want you."

Reprinted in The Storyteller With Nike Airs and Other Barrio Stories.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1992

Alicia Gaspar de Alba's stories of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

These three stories, all first published in 1992, are related tales about the seventeenth century nun, poet, philosopher Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. "Excerpts from the Sappic diary" and "Juana Ines" are excerpted from Gaspar de Alba's first novel Sor Juana's Second Dream.

"Juana Ines" takes place during Juana's youth. It is set on the day of her examination by the most learned gentlemen in Mexico City,in 1667, although it reflects back to "the first time she had laid eyes on Leonor Carreto, Marquesa de Mancera." The story begins with Juana confessing her desire for the Marquesa, a confession she knows she will never make to any priest, and ends with her decision to take the veil.

"Excerpts from the Sapphic diary," epistolary in form, recounts Juana's initial feelings and growing relationship with "our new Vicereine,. . . Maria Luisa de Manrique, Condesa de Paredes" and covers the period from January 1681 to November 1682. The first entry is adressed to the late Contesa, and shows Juana's position within the convent, where the Mother Superior orders all the inhabitants out in the the garden, to pray for their salvation at the sight of a comet in the sky, surely a sign from God. Juana, recognizing it as a natural phenomenon, is disregarded and must kneel down and pray with the others. The emphasis of this entry is on Juana's mourning of "Laura" the marquesa, at the same time that she has fallen in love again. The later entries show la condesa's influence over Juana, and rebellion against her lady's caprice.

In "Cimarrona" Gaspar de Alba shifts her focus to Concepcion, the mestiza novice who acted as Sor Juana's assistant in the convent. Sor Juana, although identifiable from the earlier stories and by her writings, is called only "Madre" in this story. Concepcion runs away from the convent, freeing Alendula, daughter of a free Black woman and a cimarron. Imprisoned in a cell in the convent, Alendula tells Concepcion "stories of the village of San Lorenzo where free Negroes ruled like kings. She spoke of ceremonies that startled Concepcion. Of moon mothers and river goddesses and altars piled with coconuts, oranges and bones." Alas their escape is ill-fated, and they end up on a Dutch slave ship, where Concepcion's literacy earns her un precio fijo.

"Cimarrona" was originally published in Without Discovery: A Native Response to Columbus, edited by Ray Gonzalez. It was reprinted 1994 In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States, edited by Roberta Fernandez. The copyright page from In OtherWords incorrectly identifies the original publication as Mystery of Survival and Other Stories (1993). Roberta Fernandez reports that "Cimarrona" is "from another working manuscript entitled "Thankful Sea Graves: A Chicana Gothic" (In Other Words, introduction to "Cimarrona," 401).
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Friends from the Other Side

Pictures by Consuelo Mendez

In Spanish and English

Anzaldua's first children's book. Main characters, Prietita and Joaquin, other characters: the curandera, Joaquin's mother, and Prietita's cousin Tete.
Prietita sees her friends and cousin harrassing another boy because he is poor and he and his mother are indocumentados. Shows discrimination within Chicano communities as well as community resistance to la migra.

Mendez's illustrations provide many little glimpses into the lives of characters, through the decorations and icons in their homes.

Summary from the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Having crossed the Rio Grande into Texas with his mother in search of a new life, Joaquin receives help and friendship from Prietita, a brave young Mexican American girl.

Praised by School Library Journal as "an important book touching on a timely and sensitive issue."

San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1993. In paperback and hardcover.
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The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories

This collection of short stories, winner of the 1994 Premio Aztlan, includes eleven stories, four of which have been previously published. The last four stories are written/recovered by the character Xochitl/X.Mary Espinosa of "The Pinata Dream."

Candelaria's introduction takes an ethnopoetic approach and uses the metaphor of the pinata.

Table of Contents

Puros Cuentos
Xochitl's Stories

[ Home | Top | Back to 1993

Brincando El Charco

Excerpt from the program for RUPTURE: the Fifth Annual Women of Color Film and Video Festival, 1996.

Brincando el Charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican

Frances Negron-Muntaner

(1994), 54:00

Sophisticated and refreshing, Brincando el Charco contemplates the notion of identity through the experiences of a Puerto Rican woman living in the US. A mixture of fiction, archival footage, processed interviews, and soap opera drama, this film tells the story of Claudia Marin, a light-skinned lesbian photographer/videographer attempting to construct a sense of community in the US. Her struggles with issues of family, sexuality, creativity, identity, and racism are interwoven with the stories of her interview subjects. Brincando el Charco becomes a meditation on the shifting differences of class, race, and sexuality as Marin confronts both her privilege and her oppression.

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Carmelita Tropicana: Your Kunst Is Your Waffen

Distributor's synopsis:

Carmelita Tropicana portrays an event-filled day in the life of its eponymous heroine, Latina performance artist Carmelita Tropicana. La Tropicana's experiences, as a single woman and lesbian supporting herself as a building "super" on New York's Lower East Side, are embellished with humorous monologues and a novella-style melodrama, with fantasy musical production numbers.
Featured at the Berlin Film Festival, where it took a Teddy Bear for best short film, Carmelita Tropicana confounds every cliche and has fun with every Latina media stereotype, from hot torch singer to gang girl to woman-in-prison. Outrageous and colorful, It was named a "top ten" by Deneuve magazine. (ITVS)

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Book Reviews of Latin Satins

Corona, Mireya. Review of Latin Satins, by Terri de la Pena. conMocion 2:13. 1996.

Corona gives a mixed review:

Throughout the novel, Terri de la Pena touches on some very real issues, including the inescapable exposure to machismo and prejudice [racism], the fear of losing one's job due to homophobia--especially when the work involves children--and the constant recreation of culture...[The song lyrics] are crucial to the novel and de la Pena uses them strategically. They hold, in a concise manner, the frustrations and thoughts that might otherwise sound like monologues or lectures.

Disappointingly, de la Pena merely surfaces some topics such as those of AIDS, bisexuality and desire, leaving one in want of further exploration. However, more than one lesbiana will find parts of herself reflected in the believable and inclusive world that de la Pena creates.

Also in this issue of conMocion, de la Pena's "Second Thoughts about Sweaty Pages," in which she discusses her reservations about writing erotica:

Am I the only one who thinks there is more than enough emphasis on sex in our writings? Am I the only one who is embarrassed by the covers of some of our books, newspapers and magazines? (36)

This essay is in the minority and somewhat out of place in this particular issue, the erotica issue of conMocion, chock full of sex-positive articles, essays, reviews, photographs, drawings, poetry and cuentos.

Nussbaum, Lisa. 1994. Review of Latin Satins, by Terri de la Pena. Library Journal 119 (16):112.

Ortega, Teresa. "Sex and Salsa." Review of Latin Satins, by Terri de la Pena. Lambda Book Report 4 (10):21. 1995.

Ortega writes a very positive, sassy review, and comparing the novel throughout to chips and salsa, tasty and satsifying. She paints Latin Satins in the best possible light, overlooking the shortcomings pointed out by Corona.

Publishers Weekly Review of Latin Satins, by Terri de la Pena. 241 (31):75. 1994.

This unsigned book review takes an unnecesarily harsh view of the novel:

Racism, classism, sexism, economic politics and a beautful bird-watching Chicana lover [sic] should provide ample material to give a novel life and meaning, but this book is as flat as its pages, as blank as their margins, as formless as pulp.

The concluding sentence is the most telling, since it charges de la Pena with "Sledgehammer anti-white rhetoric." Of all the reviewer's vitriolic comments, this is the most difficult to give credence to. Publisher's Weekly's 1992 review of Margins was much more concise and less reactionary.

Perez, Emma. "Selena's Sisters" Review of Latin Satins, by Terri de la Pena. Lesbian Review of Books 2 (1):4. 1995.

Perez' review is mainly positive, drawing some interesting parallels between the inimitable Selena and de la Pena's characters, discussing Chic Lozano as a femme fatale [femme?], the role of de la Pena's novels in Chicana lesbian representation, and giving a most nuanced reading of the role of music.

Perez draws attention to the way the characters give the obligatory lesbian-feminist shudder regarding s/m and other "bad girl" sexuality: "If de la Pena is demonstrating for us how such a personality would react against the expression of S/M politics in the community, then she succeeds." In spite of thes "personally charged controversies and... minor contention[s]" and the vain wish that the novel had been set in Texas, with one of the Satins playing the accordion, Perez applauds this "enjoyable fantasy about four Chicana lesbians living, singing, and loving together.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1994 ]

The Storyteller with Nike Airs and Other Barrio Stories

The cover of this book features a detail from Yreina Cervantez's "La Ofrenda" mural, "on Toluca Street under the 1st Street Bridge (near the intersection of 2nd and Glendale) in Los Angeles" (2nd copyright page).

Table of Contents


~originally published 1992
#originally published 1991
&reprinted Currents From the Dancing River. Ed. Gonzalez. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994. 137-144.
^^originally published 1993

Book Reviews:

de la Pena, Terri. "The Best Sleep of All." Rev. of The Storyteller with Nike Airs and Other Stories, by Kleya Forte-Escamilla. Lambda Book Report 4.10 (May-June, 1995): 22.
[ Home| Top | Back to 1994 ]

Book Reviews of We Came All the Way from Cuba...

de la Pena, Terri. "Island People." Rev. of We came all the way from Cuba so you could dress like this? by Achy Obejas. Lambda Book Report 4.7 (Nov-Dec 1994):24-5.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1994 ]

Weeping Woman: La Llorona and Other Stories

This collection of loosely interrelated stories, begins with a story of a young girl, Luna, and the grandmother who takes her to the beach at night to escape. The stories give glimpses into the lives of many different women, all connected by a sea shell from the beach. The last four stories are all possible outcomes for Luna as a mature woman.

Table of Contents

[ Home| Top | Back to 1994 ]

Prietita and the Ghost Woman=Prietita y la Llorona

Pictures by Christina Gonzalez

In Spanish and English

Continues the adventures of Prietita. Other characters: little sister Miranda, the curandera Dona Lola, Prietita's cousin Tete.

Prietita embarks on a dangerous journey, entering the King Ranch to find the herb ruda to treat her mother's illness. She asks for help from the creatures she meets and is finally guided by La Llorona.

In the author's notes, Anzaldua adds:

my mamagrande used to tell me scary stories about la Llorona....All the children were afraid of la Llorona--I was afraid too, but even at that age I wondered if there was another side to her. As I grew older and studied the roots of my Chicana/Mexicana culture, I discovered that there really was another side to la Llorona, a powerful positive side, a side that represents the Indian part and the female part of us (32).

Gonzalez's illustrations use vibrant colors to depict the life and drama of the Texas landscape at night.

Summary from the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

Prietita, a young Mexican American girl, becomes lost in her search for an herb to cure her mother and is aided by the legendary ghost woman.

San Francisco: Children's Book Press, 1996. In hardcover.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1995

Book Review of Face of an Angel

Fans of Denise Chavez who are familiar with her award-winning short story collection The Last of the Menu Girls and her plays, such as Novenas Narrativas, will be pleased with her new novel The Face of an Angel. Like her earlier works, Face of an Angel focuses on the lives of southern New Mexican women.

The main narrator is Soveida Dosamantes, whom we follow from girlhood to womanhood, yet the book itself includes a series of conversations, mujer a mujer. Chavez's playwrighting skill somces out, as in Chapter 5 "Y tu, ?que?" in which the words of a husband and wife appear side by side, each telling their own story, without really speaking to one another. Chavez weaves together her cuentos--those that everyone has heard. . . those that everyone knows but no one voices. Her characters are alive, with all their prejudices and blind spots.

The promotional blurbs on the back cover call the novel uplifting, entertaining, a family saga, and "delicious as a hot New Mexican meal." What they don't mention is that the novel is profoundly disturbing, perhaps because Chavez re-works the "family saga" to show the bitterness, the disappointment, the ignored wounds that fester and kill. Chavez shows some of the ways that girls learn about sexuality--which in this context means heterosexuality--from mothers, from dichos, from men and boys, and from life. Face of an Angel is hard to put down, and pushes the reader to look backward and forward at the women in her (own) life.

[Published in CLRC Research and News Update No. 8 (Fall/Winter 1997): 15.] Copyright 1997 Catriona Rueda Esquibel
[ Home | Top | Back to 1995 ]

tatiana de la tierra reviews Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas

Achy Obejas publico su segundo libro, Memory Mambo (Cleis, 1996), una novela con una twenty-four year old lesbiana cubana protagonista, Juani. she plays with the facts and fantasias of memory, with relaciones entre mujeres y entre familia, with politically-correct cosas, and with the invention of duct tape. todo esto happens en un multi-cultural vecindario en Chicago, con un laundromat churning in the background. once again, la portada de la novela is graced by una pintura de la artista cubana Nereyda Garcia-Ferraz.

[reprinted from the telarana web page, Copyright 1997 tatiana de la tierra]

Other book reviews:

de la Pena, Terri. Review of Memory Mambo, by Achy Obejas. Sojourner 22.6.
[ Home | Top | Back to 1996 ]

Book Review of Gulf Dreams

Emma Perez's first novel Gulf Dreams is a challenging look at women, race and desire in a small Texas town. While the racism is blatant, the lives of Chicanas and Chicanos are also structured by sexism, heterosexism and sexual abuse. Perez traces the life of one woman, a girl who falls in love with another girl. The narrator refuses the path laid out for female friendships--comadres who will see one another through "adolescence, marriage, menopause, death, and even divorce,"--saying instead "I had not come for that. I had come for her kiss." Ironically, the unnamed (lesbian) narrator learns sex from her (heterosexual? bisexual? otherwise queer?) girlfriend, as the latter recounts what her boyfriend does for her.

The novel is no coming-out story, lesbian affirmation, or simple erotica, nor is it a straight-forward narrative. Gulf Dreams leads the reader on a haunted path of tangled desires and memories. Perez's writing style is sensually evocative, bringing the reader not mere images but sensations of smell, touch taste, and pain.

Those familiar with Perez's critical writings will see echoes of past themes here, particularly in the rape trial, where racism is used as a rationalization or a diversion for male violence against women. Much more than a theoretical inquiry, Gulf Dreams is a complex and compelling novel.

[Published in CLRC Research and News Update No. 8 (Fall/Winter 1997): 15.] Copyright 1997 Catriona Rueda Esquibel

Other book reviews:

de Lauretis, Teresa. "Closing the Gulf Between Us." Lesbian Review of Books II.4 (Summer 1996): 4.

de la Pena, Terri. Review of Gulf Dreams, by Emma Perez. Sojourner 22.3.

de la tierra, tatiana:

Emma Perez' primera novela, Gulf Dreams (Berkeley: Third Woman, 1996) es un historia written in a unique style, in past and present tense, in a diary & dream form. se cuenta a traves de los ojos de una Chicana who lusts for a small girl/young woman who becomes a part of her imagined and real world. la autora, who is an Assistant Prof of Historia at U. of Texas at El Paso, visito a las lesbianas latinas en San Antonio last spring, where she read from her novela and attended a recepcion in her honor. en la portada de su libro hay una monotype pintura, "La Mestiza," by la artista venezolana Beatriz Pestana. (nota: la portada es preciosa, evocativa, dreamy, perfect for el contenido.) her latest proyecto is the completion of her libro, Sexing the Colonial Imaginary: Chicana Feminist History, Theory & Consciousness, probablemente to be publicado by Indiana University Press.

[reprinted from the telarana web page, Copyright 1997 tatiana de la tierra]
[ Back to Top | Top | Back to 1996

The Tenth Muse

See also Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Short Stories of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, 1992.

The following report by tatiana de la tierra is from telarana #5 1997

Alicia Gaspar de Alba is happy to report que after nine years, The Tenth Muse, un lesbianized libro sobre Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, esta finally finished. un taste de esta obra, "Excerpts from the Sapphic Diary of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz" was published in Tasting Life Twice: Literary Lesbian Fiction by New American Writers (edited by E.J. Levy; Avon, 1995). otro piece publicado en una antologia fue "Facing the Mariachis" in Latina: Women's Voices From the Borderlands (edited by Lillian Castillo-Speed; Touchstone, 1995).

[Copyright 1997 tatiana de la tierra]

For other lesbian representations of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, see Ma. Luisa Bemburg's film Yo, la peor de todas.
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The following book and review are included in the University of New Mexico Press Spring 1998 book catalog:


A Novel by Sheila Ortiz Taylor

It's 1983 in Coachella Valley and Yolanda Ramirez, a lowly phlebotomist at the Palm Springs hospital, has a hunch. Gay men, hemophiliacs, and women scarred by cosmetic surgery are dying. Safe blood, like the water keeping this desert green, is a lie.

In the nearby trailer, Isabel Ochoa Dreyfus disappears into a new identity: Marina Lomas. Somewhere in Iowa her businessman husband sits in the dark, staring at his drink, promising never to hit her again, if only he can track her down.

Despite herself, Marina finds companionship at Mac and Gil's annual Casa Diva fashion show. As glamorous men stride up and down a poolside runway, Yo awakens Marina's sleeping desire.

Elsewhere in Coachella, Yo's father Crescencio, a gardener, soothes Eliana Townsend, his secret love, by coaxing life from the earth outside her window. She is dying, most likely from AIDS, but no one will tell her the truth. And through it all Crescencio's sister, Tia Josie, keeps the family steady with wisdom from the "Rockford Files" and her dead Cahuilla husband.

Truths surge to the surface in this community of false fronts and deep roots as readers are whisked toward the deafening conclusion of "Coachella" - the latest from one of Chicano literature's finest writers.

Sheila Ortiz Taylor's books include "Imaginary Parents" (UNM Press) and "Faultline".

Published by the University of New Mexico Press
Release Date: March 1998
5 1/2 x 8
200 pages
Paper: ISBN 0-8263-1843-6 $14.95

Distributed by the University of New Mexico Press:
Order Department Phone 1-800-249-7737 or 505-277-4810

[ Back to Top |Top | Back to 1998 ]

February 2002

Comments to
Department of Women's Studies
The Ohio State University
286 University Hall
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210-1311

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