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Southwestern American Literature

Southwestern American Literature is now accepting submissions for the special issue: Women in the Southwest: From History to the Frontline with guest editor Sarah Rafael García, author of Las Niñas: A Collection of Childhood Memoirs

Send us your poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography that focuses on women.

Submission deadline is August 1, 2017

Southwestern American Literature is a biannual scholarly journal that includes literary criticism, fiction, poetry, and book reviews concerning the Greater Southwest.

Since its inception in 1971, the journal has published premier works by and about some of the most significant writers of the region.

Southwestern American Literature is indexed in The MLA International Bibliography, which can be found in most North American and European higher-education institutions, and Humanities International Complete, which can be found in libraries throughout North America.

ISSN 0049-1675facebook

© Center for the Study of the Southwest, Texas State University.

Current Issue: Volume 42. Number 1 - Fall 2016

Our desire for this issue of Southwestern American Literature is two-fold: to gather notable writing about music of the Southwest as well as writing produced by musicians of the southwest. The result is a collection of texts that explores numerous southwestern musical efforts and emphasizes the diverse approaches to writing about music of the region. We examine the broader spectrum of music of the region, from folk forms to the avant-garde, and we rely on both the work of writers who are both based in the region and those listening and writing from afar.

Works by and about Central Texas-based songwriters are at the core of this issue. Marshall Anderson remembers San Marcos’s legendary songwriter and club owner Kent Finlay in poetry. Finlay, whose life was recently chronicled by Brian T. Atkinson and Jenni Finlay in Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind San Marcos’s Cheatham Street Warehouse , was an anchor of the Central Texas music scene, and Anderson’s poem acts as the foundation for this issue. We feature song lyrics by Austin’s Bill Callahan from three of his records: 1997’s Red Apple Falls (released under the Smog aegis), 2009’s I Wish We Were An Eagle, and his most recent full length, 2013’s Dream River. We offer poetry and prose from Austin songwriters David Longoria and John Wesley Coleman III, respectively.

Essays covering a variety of musical ventures of the Southwest make up the bulk of this issue. Jasper Leach and Joel Minor navigate the sprawling body of work produced by Houston native Mayo Thompson and present an important and comprehensive survey of Thompson’s lone solo LP, Corky’s Debt to His Father. Michael Engelhard chronicles the history, performance, and preservation of Nuwuvi Salt Songs. Jason Chronis’s essay on Del Rio, Texas, Chicano garage band Thee uncovers the story of yet another notable example of 1960s Texas teen rock and roll. Joe Specht explains the emergence of honky-tonk and the pioneering work of two of the genre’s most important practitioners, Ernest Tubb and Floyd Tillman. Diana Garcia’s tale of teaching the music of El Vez offers a poignant view into a Texas public school classroom and evidences the power of the master parodist’s empowering punk, funk, and rock and roll.


SAL Music Issue

Poet J. Todd Hawkins, a Fort Worth native, recalls Bob Wills, the king of western swing and one of Cowtown’s many legendary band leaders and musical stylists. Hawkins also mines the work of Bob Dylan, whose songwriting (and band personnel) is often tied to the Southwest. Kyle Schlesinger evokes the components of organized sound and imagines their travels in “If Anything,” while Harry Gordon works in a similar territory as the urbane brass of Miles Davis echoes through the south rim of the Grand Canyon in his poem “All Blues.”

We hope to illuminate the efforts of contemporary writers whose recent publications add to the rapidly growing body of work on southwestern music in our book reviews. Jennifer Ruch emphasizes the importance of uncovering the often overlooked roles of women in the music industry in her review of Mary Ann Villareal’s Listening to Rosita: The Business of Tejana Music and Culture, 1930-1955. Monica Montelongo Flores’s review of Chris Morris’s Los Lobos: Dream in Blue reminds readers yet again of the ongoing efforts of one of the most adventurous and fearless rock and roll bands of the last forty years. Writers of the Southwest appear throughout this issue of the journal, but we are fortunate to include Jason Mellard’s review of Brittish writer Ben Graham’s new book on Austin psychedelic music and French journalist Etienne Greib’s review of Dallas band Bedhead’s Numero Group box set.

Music of all regions requires some promotion from the visual artist, and we are pleased to showcase work by three Central Texas artists who produce concert posters. Featured in Joe Specht’s article on Floyd Tillman and Ernest Tubb is a poster that is a collaboration by Guy Juke and Danny Garrett from Willie Nelson’s 1979 fourth of July picnic. Juke and Garrett are both seminal figures of the Austin music art scene, and their work was recently chronicled in Homegrown: Austin Music Posters 1967 to 1982. Garrett also recently published a book of posters with lengthy chapters on the history of the Austin music scene entitled Weird Yet Strange: Notes from an Austin Music Artist. Jaime Zuverza, whose work is featured in the color spread, is also a concert poster artist whose work for Austin venues like Hotel Vegas, Barracuda, and Cheer Up Charlie’s has become a significant piece of the Austin music scene’s visual aesthetic. Zuverza also leads his own band, Hidden Ritual.

This issue of Southwestern American Literature would not be possible without the help and encouragement of the following friends, musicians, artists, and scholars: William Jensen, Frank de la Teja, and Tammy Gonzalez of the Center for the Study of the Southwest; Gary Hartman, Jason Mellard, and Kristi Bigley of the Center for Texas Music History; Katie Salzmann and the staff at the Wittliff Collections; the Department of English and the Honors College at Texas State University; Drag City records; Anne Schroll; Danny Garrett; Guy Juke; Mayo Thompson; Jaime Zuverza; Ruben Resendez; Ray Gutierrez; Billy McDaris; Bob McDaris; University of St. Thomas Archives; Breakaway Records; End of an Ear Records; Antone’s Records; and all the musicians, writers, and artists who contributed. I hope the work collected here shines a light on a favorite southwestern genre or artist and also reveals something new emerging from the region's vast musical landscape.