Ilan Stavans on His New Books, Latino Life at Amherst and Beyond

Submitted on Friday, 4/27/2012, at 12:30 PM

Interview by Peter Rooney

Ilan Stavans, described by his father in his most recent book as “muy prolífico,” is certainly living up to that billing this month. 

Return to Centro Histórico: A Mexican Jew Looks for His Roots (Rutgers), a photo-laden personal exploration of  Mexico City’s downtown area,  has just been published, along with the 15th anniversary edition of Latino USA: A Cartoon History (Basic Books), updated with a new chapter. Not to be overlooked is the paperback release of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry (FSG), a compilation of verse in Spanish and English, with Stavans as editor and Amherst College poet Richard Wilbur among the translators. Stavans also is preparing an exhibition about his fotonovela Once@9:53am, an account of a devastating 1994 terrorist attack against the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and left hundreds injured. That exhibit opens Sunday, April 29, at The National Yiddish Book Center (1021 West Street in Amherst).

Share

Ilan Stavans Discusses Kafka's Leopards

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College, writes in the Jewish Daily Forward about his friend, Brazilian-Jewish author Moacyr Scliar, and his book Kafka’s Leopards. “Readers are likely to witness the repositioning of one of the most versatile Jewish authors of the 20th century, from the periphery of culture … to the place where he belongs: center stage,” Stavans writes about Scliar, who died last year, and whose body of work is finally making its way into English translations.

Share

Stavans Co-Authors New Book on Hispanic Identity

Submitted on Wednesday, 10/12/2011, at 2:30 PM

By William Sweet

Ilan Stavans, Amherst’s Lewis-Sebring professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, grew up Jewish in Mexico, but it took moving to New York in the mid-1980s for him to identify as a Mexican and, by extension, a Hispanic. He acknowledges that some people might bristle at the notion of a Yiddish-speaking grandson of Eastern European Jews asserting his hispanidad—his Hispanic identity.

Share

Wall Street Journal: Talking Basketball, in Spanish, Is Definitely No Slam Dunk

Ilan Stavans, a professor of Latino culture at Amherst College, weighed in on the emergence of the new language “Basketball Spanish” in an article in the Wall Street Journal. “Broadcast Basketball Spanish is yet another variant of Spanglish,” he explained . “Spanglish is a very fluid phenomenon. There’s a lot of improvisation. It’s a kind of jazzy exchange.”

Share

LA Times: Book review: 'The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry'

The venerable West Coast newspaper ran an enthusiastic review of professor Ilan Stavans’ latest undertaking, an anthology of modern Latin American poetry. “Handsomely printed and designed, the collection has been astutely edited by [Stavans], the prolific author and Amherst College professor who has done as much as anyone alive to bridge the hemisphere’s linguistic gaps, and it boasts an all-star lineup of translators,” the article reads.

Share

Ilan Stavans to Publish FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry

Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, has edited The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: An Anthology (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011). To mark the book’s official publication date of Tuesday, March 29, Stavans will conduct a discussion and poetry reading with poet and University of Massachusetts Professor Martín Espada at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room of Converse Hall.