Prolific poet, essayist, and short story writer, Arturo Islas (1938-1991) is well known for his two insightful novels, The Rain God and Migrant Souls. His untimely death to AIDS truncated a productive and influential career that has left a yawning gap in Latino letters.
Islas was a dedicated, thoughtful, and style-conscious writer, who promoted a sense of responsibility to community and art for both writers and critics. The quality of his commitment was matched by the example he set in delving into the esthetics and psychology of gay creativity, an exploration that took him to uncompromising confrontations with his own traditional upbringing. Islas has made his mark as a writer of the U.S.-Mexico border and a leader at the forefront of exploring more social, psychological and philosophical boundaries. As a Chicano from El Paso, as a gay Latino writer, Islas surmounted many boundaries, borders and established roles; in this, he is a standard-bearer for all of Latino literature.
A seasoned scholar and professor in the English Department at Stanford University for most of his professional life, Islas maintained an extensive collection of works, records, and papers. The present volume is the product of another Stanford graduate, Frederick Luis Aldama, who combed through the Islas archive and recovered the short fiction, poetry, and essays on Chicano letters that Islas did not have the opportunity to publish. Aldama has organized these materials and edited them so that they may be accessible and “broaden the vision of Arturo Islas as writer and thinker.”