Fronteras: Norma Cantú’s Love Poems To The Border, A Place Of Beauty And Death; Tamales And Comadres | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: Norma Cantú’s Love Poems To The Border, A Place Of Beauty And Death; Tamales And Comadres

Dec 20, 2019

Born on the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border, Norma Cantú explores the joy, sadness, love, life and the deaths experienced along the border in her new collection of poetry, “Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor.” (00:30)

Then, Mexican culture comes alive every holiday season with tamales. Making tamales is a family affair where everyone has a role. Carmen Tafolla and Ellen Riojas Clark are the co-authors of “Tamales, Comadres, and the Meaning of Civilization.” (12:10)


Born along the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border in South Texas, Norma Cantú is the author of "Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor”
Credit Courtesy of Norma Elia Cantú

Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor

Cantú is a folklorist, writer, and Murchison Professor of Humanities at San Antonio’s Trinity University. She said the changes she’s seen at the border are a combination of various factors, including cartels, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, and even NAFTA. Her first collection of poetry, “Meditación Fronteriza,” intertwines those factors with her own personal ties to the borderlands.

“Meditación Fronteriza” was published in 2019 by the University of Arizona Press and was not the only work out by Cantú this year.

Cabañuelas,” out with the University of New Mexico Press, documents Cantú’s young adult life when she sets off to Spain in 1980 to study the country’s culture. You can hear Cantú’s conversation on “Cabañuelas” here.

Credit MARTEN HOLDWAY / HTTP://BIT.LY/2CRXEEU / PIXABAY CREATIVE COMMONS

Holiday Tradition: 'Tamales, Comadres, And The Meaning Of Civilization'

It’s the season for tamales. They come in all sizes and are filled with all sorts of ingredients. And in the Mexican culture, making tamales is a community affair, with family and friends gathering to create the flavorful packets.

Carmen Tafolla and Ellen Riojas Clark are comadres and tamaleras. Tafolla is the former poet laureate for San Antonio and the state of Texas. Clark is Professor Emerita in the Division of Bicultural Bilingual Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. They are the co-authors of the book, “Tamales, Comadres, and the Meaning of Civilization.”

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.