Houston Public Media radio host Eric Ladau interviewed Gaspar de Alba for its website’s “Arte Público Press Authors” feature, and along with the transcript, their conversation is available to listeners on the station’s interactive site through on-demand audio streaming here.
Click here to see all Arte Público authors featured on Houston Public Media.
About the Author:
ALICIA GASPAR DE ALBA is the author of several books: Calligraphy of the Witch (Arte Público Press, 2012); Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders (Arte Público Press, 2005), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery; La Llorona on the Longfellow Bridge: Poetry y Otras Movidas (Arte Público Press, 2003); the acclaimed novel Sor Juana’s Second Dream (University of New Mexico Press, 1999); Chicana Art Inside/Outside the Master’s House: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition (University of Texas Press, 1998); The Mystery of Survival and Other Stories (Bilingual Review Press, 1993); and the series of poems “Beggar on the Córdoba Bridge” that appeared in Three Times a Woman: Chicana Poetry (Bilingual Review Press, 1989), which she edited. She is also the editor of Velvet Barrios: Popular Culture and Chicana/o Sexualities (Palgrave/MacMillan, 2003). Gaspar de Alba is a tenured professor of Chicana/o Studies and English at the University of California, Los Angeles.
About her new book, The Curse of the Gypsy: Ten Stories and a Novella
In the first story of this absorbing collection, Margarita—sixteen and married to a soldier who has gone off to fight in the first great war—meets and falls in love with Federico García Lorca. He calls her “Margarita Petita,” and then turns her name into a poem. When he refuses to marry the widowed gypsy girl after a tryst at the river leaves her pregnant, her mother curses both Lorca and his offspring: “May they all die before they see the light of day.” And so Lorca is killed by fascists and his child dies in Margarita’s womb, where it remains—petrified—for 80 years.
Mysteries and furtive desires pervade the enthralling stories in this group of ten the author calls a “deconstructed novel.” Rich in imagery and language, they chronicle the gypsy’s life, including banishment from Andalusia by her mother, marriage to a famous Mexican bull fighter and the lives of numerous descendants who ultimately leave Mexico for El Paso, Texas. In one of the final stories, “Calaveras in the Closet,” the gypsy’s extensive family comes together for her funeral, where several long-guarded secrets will suddenly come to light.
Also included in this volume is a historical novella, Liberata Wilgefortis: The True and Tragic Story of the Bearded Female Saint, a mystical retelling of an ancient legend about the first bearded female saint of the Catholic Church, St. Wilgefortis, whose cult was removed by Vatican II in 1969. Expertly weaving poetry, historical events, myth and legend into intriguing short fiction, Alicia Gaspar de Alba confirms her place as one of the leading contemporary Latinx voices.