Monday, July 30, 2007

Jaime Tolbert of Baja Books and Maps

My sister Alice was in San Jose del Cabo (Baja California Sur) last week, where she snapped this photo of Jaime Tolbert, founder of Baja Books and Maps. Check out their website and if you happen to be in town, their beautiful new bookstore. (Yes, they carry my titles, including Miraculous Air and Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, and can ship within Mexico.)

El Paso Times Reviews "An Avocado from Michoacan"

Today's El Paso Times features Rigoberto Gonzalez's glowing review of Tameme's first bilingual chapbook--- Agustin Cadena's short story "Carne verde, piel negra" translated by Yours Truly as "An Avocado from Michoacan". "A gem of a story," writes Gonzalez, "reminiscent of Juan Rulfo and Mariano Azuela." Click here for the full review.... and by the way, another wonderful short story by Cadena appears in my anthology, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion. Cadena blogs, too, at El vino y la hiel. More anon.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Presencia Animal's June Adoptions

Presencia Animal, one of Mexico City's dog rescue organizations, is working hard! Here's a photo of their placements for June. Please visit their website! A portion of all sales on my audio CD, "The Essential Francisco Sosa or, Picadou's Mexico City" go to benefit this terrific organization.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Northernmost Boojum in the World?

This is Yours Truly and Picadou at the very sad (note it needs to be held up by wires) lone boojum at Stanford University, in Stanford, California (about an hour south of San Francisco). It is far from its brethren in Baja California's Desierto Central and Sonora.... More anon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mundo a Mundo / World to World

Just back from Queretaro's fabulous Mundo a Mundo / World to World Literary Translation Workshop--- it covers Spanish to English and English to Spanish--- a unique concept, sponsored by the IUSI, among others, and founded by literary translator and poet Amanda Powell. I was honored to be asked to talk about publishing literary translations together with one of the world's very few truly bilingual Spanish to English and English to Spanish literary translators, Herzonia Yanez (her translation of Daniel Orozco's short story "Orientation" appears in Tameme's issue #2). Herzonia made me laugh all the way home -- three hours--- to Mexico City. New word in my vocabulario: chiquitiguau (Herzonia's description of the restaurant where we had lunch). Well, I really need to put together a little article on "getting started in literary translating." There are some excellent on-line articles on the subject at the ALTA (American Literary Translators Association) website, PEN, and elsewhere. But I have my own take on the process, and where the value lies. I talked about Tameme, of course, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, the superb resource of Tameme's links page, and mentioned my war-horse of an article (reprinted more times than I can count) on publishing the literary short story--- most of the advice is directly applicable to publishing literary translations of poetry, short fiction and creative nonfiction. More anon.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer Travel Reading: Top 10 Faves

I'm still on vacation... so for now, here's my recent guest-blog post over at The Happy Booker--- with an intro by Wendi Kaufman (aka the Happy Booker):

Guest blogger C.M. Mayo is the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California just released in paperback by Milkweed Editions, and Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, a collection of Mexican fiction and literary prose. Her most recent travel writing, "From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion", an essay in Massachusetts Review about a journey to the Emperor of Mexico's castle in Italy, won the 2007 Washington Writing Prize for Personal Essay.

Around the World with Madam Mayo

Bon voyage, feliz viaje, and how do you say that in Icelandic? Speaking of which, one of my favorite travel memoirs, perfect for whiling away lazy afternoons in a deckchair, is Charles Fergus's Summer at Little Lava: A Season at the Edge of the World, about his mid-life stay at Litla Hraun in western Iceland.

For some reason, though my own writing tends to focus on Mexico, most of my favorite travel books are about the far north--- Farley Mowat's dirge-like Walking on the Land (about Canada's Ilhalmiut people); Gretel Ehrlich's low-altitude, vegetable-free romp, This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland; and for sheer wierdness (wierd to me, anyway), Gontran de Poncins' cult classic, Kabloona. But I certainly do read books on Mexico. My all-time favorite is Frances Calderon de la Barca's 1842 Life in Mexico--- not so much a seamless narrative as a patchwork quilt of vivid, often comic scenes. Two new ones well worth reading: Jeff Biggers's In the Sierra Madre, and Sam Quinones's Antonio's Gun and Delphino's Dream, a rollicking collection which includes chapters about the black velvet paintings, opera in Tijuana, and--- that's right--- Mennonite narcotraffickers.

On Southeast Asia, I've yet to read anything that beats the drama and haunting poetry of war correspondent Jon Swain's River of Time. For Francophiles: Sara Mansfield Taber's Bread of Three Rivers, in which the story of the best loaf of French bread rises to become the story of the whole world. For Italophiles, subspecies Venetophile: Judith Martin's hot-off-the-presses No Vulgar Hotel. Jog a bit around the Adriatic for Jan Morris's Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere, a meditation on this most un-Italian of Italian cities, with denizens as unlikely as Mexico's Emperor, Maximilian, and James Joyce. Oops, that's eleven. Ciao for now. I'm going to California.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Whole Enchilada

Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, my epic historical novel set in 1860s Mexico, Paris and Washington DC is... done. Well, I mean, this afternoon I wrote the final sentence of the draft of the last chapter. It works... I think... I hope... Apropos of novel-writing, an amusing post over at Leslie Pietrzyk's Work in Progress.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chez Robert Giron

has just posted a very generous review of Tameme's first chapbook, Mexican writer Agustin Cadena's short story, "Carne verde, piel negra," translated by Yours Truly as "An Avocado From Michoacan." I was so delighted by Giron's mention of our wonderful cover designer, Ines Hilde. The cover painting is by the very talented Edgar Soberon. Robert Giron, a literary translator and also a publisher of poetry, fiction and translation with his Gival Press, has long been a friend to Tameme. He recently published another one of Agustin Cadena's short stories in his on-line journal, ArLiJo. More anon.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Been meaning to post this: At the recent Washington Independent Writers Conference, I dipped into the panel on research and happened to pick up a handout from with a list of favorite search engines. These include Google, of course, but also two I didn't know: KartOO "a meta search engine that provides a visual map of your results" and Zuula which "allows you to flip between mutliple search engines without reentering search terms." Also, some web sites for finding experts, including Expert Witness Directory and the Librarians' Internet Index More anon.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Eugenia Marcos

Mexican painter Eugenia Marcos has just put up her new website--- see why her paintings of fruits and vegetables are so beloved, from Mexico City to Washington DC to Beijing.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Literal: Latin American Voices

The new issue of Literal has hit the stands--- gorgeous as usual and this one features an essay by Carlos Monsivais. And Literal is now doing some very elegant bilingual chapbooks... Editor Rosemary Salum inspires me more than I can say. More anon...

Inside Mexico: Found in Translation

As usual, I have lots to say about literary translation and Mexican literature. Margot Shetterley's profile of Yours Truly (& Picadou) appears in the June issue of Inside Mexico. The photo is by Luz Montero. More anon.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Mexico's La Sombra del Sabino: This July 8th

I'll be reading and signing the new paperback edition of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico this Sunday at 1 pm at Tepoztlan's (bilingual) literary cafe and bookstore, La Sombra del Sabino. Also on hand: Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, my anthology of Mexican fiction and literary prose. The event is free and open to the public. (Beautiful garden, excellent capuccino, by the way...) Here's the announcement in Spanish:

Domingo 8 de julio a las 13:00 hrs. - La Sombra del Sabino contará nuevamente con la presencia de la destacada escritora estadounidense C.M. Mayo. En esta ocasión, nuestra ronda literaria se verá enaltecida con la presentación de su último libro, Miraculous Air, que ha recibido gran acogida entre la comunidad literaria y aquellos que aman al “otro México”. La Peninsula de Baja California, desde Cabo San Lucas hasta “la ciudad perdida” de Tijuana, enmarcan este fascinante recorrido.