Arturo Islas: The Uncollected Works


Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama

ISBN: 978-1-55885-368-3
Publication Date: April 30, 2003
Bind: Paperback
Pages: 276

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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.”


“Aldama’s considerable and important scholarly work will certainly reinforce Islas’ already secure position in the canon of Chicano and Latino literary production”—Lambda Book Report

FREDERICK LUIS ALDAMA has edited Arturo Islas: The Uncollected Works (Arte Público Press, 2003). He has written Arturo Islas’ biography Dancing with Ghosts, and Postethnic Narrative Criticism and Contemporary Chicano/a Letters Mapped by Interview. He has published a number of articles and interviews in such journals as Latin American Research Review, Lucero, MELUS, Nepantla, and Poets and Writers. Aldama is an assistant professor in the English Department of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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