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This publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International. Call toll-free 800-521-3044. In Michigan, Alaska and Hawaii call collect 313-761-4700. Or mail inquiry to: University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. any words for the long pause while the 11 minds were waiting to fall into line with first shift of the professor’s jawline, he went on to some other poet who had better answers. One time I said something about Ricardo Sanchez being on campus and being a Chicano poet, which made him furious. “First,” he said, “I have absolutely no understanding of what you mean by Chicano poetry are you trying to say that this is some other kind of poetry than poetry?” I said, “I’m trying to say that it is poetry written partly in English and partly in Spanish and is unique in that way.” He waved his hand without further words to dismiss the subject. But Ricardo had me thinking about my Mexican maids, and how much they had taught me culturally how to carry a baby on the hip, when to feed them mashed beans, how to cook the beans with chile in a pot on the back of a stove. And so thinking about the maids as well as “kitchen Spanish” how ludicrous a language to know, yet how in its own way it was something like Chicano poetry, a border. language which had its own dialect I wrote a poem in kitchen Spanish to my favorite maid \(oh Maria was my maid the class. Harry Maxim was the first to respond. “Can we throw this one out?” he asked. “I cannot deal with it, obviously not poetry.” David Smith nodded vigorously in agreement. Then around the table, several other of the poets agreeing not poetry, simple trash. One said, “Well I did notice that much of the Spanish was incorrect grammatically,” and one of the others said, “Well, but it is like a kind of primitive ballad . . .” But he was the only one who had anything kind to say Andy Grossbardt, who committed suicide two years later. Tears and humiliation. Rules upon rules. We may have been speaking English to each other, but our poetic languages were very different, and a terrible realization began to dawn on me: that if I did complete my Ph.D. candidacy and then get a job at a university, even in Texas, people like David Smith and these poets would be my colleagues! And I would most probably turn into someone sitting at the front of a table spouting off about what not to write about and how not to say it. IDO NOT KNOW what I would have done with myself if the National Endowment Angels had not arrived about that time to inform me that not everybody thought my writing was trash after all, and that I could have a year-long grant to write whatever I wanted however I pleased. It was at this time that McMurtry’s advice re-occurred to me should I use my grant money to go to Hollywood? Greenwich Village? The south of France? But it was only because of Texas small press publishers who had begun to print my stories and poems that my self-esteem as a writer had Should I take my grant money and go to Hollywood? Greenwich Village? The South of France? been preserved at all through the long two working on my first book, the story of the West Texas healer Jewel Babb, whom I needed to visit more and talk with more and live with more in order to get her story right. So it made the most sense to me to spend my little grant on living expenses in that place which was both nurturing and inspiring me my own home state. So with hardly more than a raspberry and a rude finger motion to my former companions, I headed back to Texas. In the process of making this decision, my husband Chuck and I articulated something of our feelings for the state and what we saw as its literary future. He had already been publishing a small literary magazine for several years, launching his Slough Press in Austin in 1973 when half ‘a dozen other little presses were also struggling to find the means to print sporadic magazines and small chapbooks of poems and stories. We had no illusions about getting rich in such a publishing world. But we could readily see that the cross-cultural influences in the state and the friction they generated were making for new style and new stories and a scene that we wanted to be a part of. The call for a third coast of publishing and cultural voice was getting louder and we were listening. But we knew that it would only be possible for such a future to develop if writers and other book people gave their best energies to the movement rather than sending their best efforts to the slush piles of either East or West, or starting over in the writers’ slums of Los Angeles or the New York writers’ tenements where nobody knows your name and you don’t even know the name of the next street over. Now 10 years later, I have been receiving congratulations for my “success” a collection of stories published with a New York company. But the real success has been the flowering of the Texas literary scene itself as it has grown, so have I, so has Chuck, so has Ricardo, who also returned a short time after we did long may we grow together. I am happy to count in my acknowledgments so many Texas magazines and journals, some only,good for a few issues before going under, but always another ornery and determined editor to pick up where the last left off. Diane Pingree with Texas Woman. David Yates with Cedar Rock. Dan Conway with Southwest Art Form. Suzanne Martin with Womansight. Tom Zigal with Pawn Review. All defunct currently, but their spirits reincarnated into a dozen new ones. My stories floated on their tenuous support, finally collected and published first with our own Slough Press, aided by the Texas Circuit/City of Austin Book Award. It was a copy of our second edition, financed in part by ex-editor Mary Saunders of the defunct Window Magazine, that found its way into the hands of a literary booster who put a New York agent on my telephone line like a present from Santa with no queries necessary, no SASEs a booster from Midland, where I advise aspiring writers these days to send their review books if they want to copy my successful pattern. Now I know that the game of Who’s The Best can go on as long as players pick up a bat and start swinging. But as a working writer seeking inspiration, the question of What’s The Scene is much more interesting to me. And how can that be answered, described, debated, or analyzed by anyone who hasn’t been around to observe it? I would suggest, from what I’ve seen, that this literary era will be remembered for bringing forth a rich mosaic of great voices and stories from a number of Texas writers playing off of each other and representing the whole wide diversity of the place and the times in a way that single Big Name or Big Book will never be able to encompass. That mosaic will include the GermanMexican Dagoberto Gilb, the half-breed Roxy Gordon, the urban-Indian Lee Ann Howe, the erudite Lorenzo Thomas, the academic snitch Pat Can, the Yankee turncoat Chuck Taylor, and Ricardo Sanchez already internationally famous as one of the founding fathers of a new poetic language. And so far as Range Wars goes, the publication of the book itself says more about what has been going on here than any serious literature in a good-looking package marketed for a wide reading public coming of age in the Plaza of the Americas, where the worst criticism will be reserved for those who don’t dance in the square or listen to the music. 8 OCTOBER 13, 1989