Southwestern American Literature
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.
© Center for the Study of the Southwest, Texas State University.
Current Issue: Volume 44 | Number 2 - Spring 2019
In summer 2019, the Center for the Study of the Southwest commissioned Andrea Muñoz Martinez to exhibit her work on the landscapes of the Uvalde – Piedras Negras region. Muñoz Martinez starts small to capture these vast views. She uses one brush per canvas to paint tiny individual squares. Together, these small splashes of paint on eight-foot by twelve-foot canvases merge to become images of South Texas landscapes. Each square mirrors the splash of light the receptors respond to when we see; Andrea Munoz Martinez seeks to catch the moment when landscapes become part of our bodies, or our bodies begin their response to our landscapes. Her paintings mirror the memories we carry with us of the landscapes of our home; her work, the labor it takes to share experiences and feelings with others.
This issue brings out the labor and the craft of narrative and memory. The work featured here exposes the labor of memory, of piecing together narratives from the incomplete bits and pieces we narrators have been able to put together. Two of these authors steer us to focus on what is unsaid and incomplete in the official story. Nicolas Belardes points to the gaps in the retelling of a family story to emphasize the diverging stories different generations pull from the same story outline. Sylvia Ramos Cruz composes a poem for every historical landmark in New Mexico that includes women. These poems point to what the memorials obscure about the lives of women. Charlene Moskal uses west Texas flora to make analogies for the people in our lives. Jeffrey Alfier catches the fleeting ephemera of travel. Though some of these works make references to the broad scale of dramatic historical processes—the Mexican Revolution, the Border wall, the establishment of U.S. military rule over New Mexico—all the artists find ways to invoke an intimate connection to the events and the worlds that shape who we are. These works point to the way memory works on details, slowly allowing us to fill in and build out to the larger picture. This is the work of narrative. This is also part of the cultures of the Southwest, a vast canvas that we give life one brushstroke, one key stroke, one conversation at time.