Inventos Míos ~ Nixtamal-inspired poetry
Come to the release in El Paso, TX, on August 15, 2018!
In 2017, I proposed to develop a new body of poems based on the history of nixtamalization and its practice by borderland culture bearers. The City of El Paso’s Museums and Cultural Affairs Department supported my idea; over the course of a year, I conducted research, interviews and observations of the practice of nixtamalization, and wrote and edited like mad with the thorough help of Roberto Santos. Cover art and inside glyphs were developed by the artists Christian and Ramon Cardenas of Lxs Dos. Photographs are by community activist and food justice advocate Victoria Quevedo.
I’m deeply honored by these kind reviews:
“Inventos Míos is a recipe for a timeless hunger. As Poet and Witness, Rubí Orozco Santos documents ‘where words do their sprouting.’ From Tlaltizapán, Morelos, to Barrio Chamizal —along with other sacred spaces spread out like kernels—a mestizaje of images, ingredients, instructions, illustrations, chisme, prayers, and humor is ‘cooked with frontera.’ This collection of poems is a radical Testimonio and an extraordinary Celebration. I was left craving ancestral meals as well as the vital tools to make them.”
– Richard Yañez, author of El Paso del Norte: Stories on the Border
“In Inventos Míos, Rubí Orozco Santos cultivates ‘a survival strategy’ for these bleak times as she recounts and recovers stories of nixtamal and its keepers, descendants from long-honored traditions that the state(s) labor to disappear. Rubí Orozco Santos, the quintessential observer, offers the reader an accounting, a ‘fine tuning / for generations.’ Her deeply engaging and thoughtful lines migrate between landscapes and languages; such movement is testament to the resiliency of her subject matter. In this affecting collection of poems and photographs, Rubí Orozco Santos emerges as a caregiver of the collective direction in the El Paso/Juárez borderland and beyond. Her work urges the reader to consider ancestral knowledge of our motherland(s) as an antidote to idleness of mind, body, and spirit.” – Andrea Blancas Beltran
“In Inventos Míos, Rubí Orozco Santos offers readers several routes on how to make our way back to our primordial roots: through our selves and our plants, a nuestra manera. Rubí invites us to nixtamalize our consciousness—to shed the skin of ‘white scorn’ and myriad fears and blinders caused by capitalist exploitations—to unleash our inner wisdom, our ancestral communal power. Inventos Míos is a ripening, an invitation to become who we are supposed to be, to restore our original relationship to the plant world. And through the plants, to the soil and the land; and through the soil and the land, to our ancestors. And through our ancestors, to our present selves, who reinvent us as we remember them. Inventos Míos is a living memory of indigeneity, of indigenous peoples, in all our floridity, that we are people of maize, somos los pueblos del maíz.”
– Arnoldo García, poeta from South Texas residing in Oakland, CA