Known as the “Chicano Nation’s cultural attaché” and the “Chicano Renaissance Man,” Cecilio García-Camarillo served as a central figure in the flourishing of artistic creativity in the late 1960s and the 1970s known as the Chicano Movement. As a publisher, editor, and radio personality, he brought to the public’s attention literary works and people that have since become legend, lore, and canon. He exerted cultural leadership not only through his editing of El Magazín, Caracol, and Rayas, but in his total dedication to his own poetry, which appeared sparsely in his magazines, but largely in his own hand-stitched chapbooks and through his preferred medium: oral performance. Ironically, García-Camarillo, a consummate editor, was diffident about or uninterested in publishing his own works. Thus, for the most part, they have remained only in the memories of those who witnessed their recital; they are also patent strains in the conscience and aesthetics of the many poets he influenced.
At last García-Camarillo has consented to the publication of selected poems spanning his decades of creativity. In this volume are united works that appeared in thirteen short-run chapbooks that he distributed among friends: Zafa’o, Crickets, Burning Snow, Carambola, Hang a Snake, Ecstasy, Puro Pedo, and other magical collections. Here are revealed in full García-Camarillo’s gifts to all lovers of poetry: surrealism and social commitment united, joy in poetic discovery, explorations of the terrain between two languages, and an embrace of all people, all cultures, and their creative visions.