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Classical 91.7-Arte Público Press Author of the Month: Javier O. Huerta

Author Javier O. Huerta has been selected as this month’s Classical 91.7/Arte Público Press Author of the Month. In the next installment of a series of monthly features, Classical 91.7’s Eric Ladau spoke with Mr. Huerta.

Javier O. Huerta is a native of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, the only Mexican border city to be founded by people who crossed to the Mexican side of the Rio Grande in order to remain Mexican citizens in 1847 during the U.S.-Mexico War. He was born in 1973 to Margarita Gomez, a 19 year-old maquiladora worker, and Javier Huerta, a 21 year-old coyote. They lived in la Colonia Mirador until July of 1981, when he and his family (father, mother, and two-year old brother Tom) crossed the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande into the United States of America. He often questions whether their journey north could not be considered a betrayal to the loyalty of the founding families of his beloved Nuevo Laredo.

Huerta’s family (not including his father) settled in Houston, Texas, which became his adopted home. ? After six years of living as undocumented immigrants, his family filed for residency under the amnesty clause of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. They received Permanent Resident cards in 1989 and were able to return to Mexico for the first of many reunions with his mother’s family, los Gomez, who continued to thrive and triumph in la Colonia Mirador. As part of his naturalization interview with an INS inspector, he was asked to write out the sentence, “Today I’m going to the grocery store.&$034;? He knew that the sentence scanned as iambic pentameter and swore to make it the first line of his epic masterpiece.  In January of 2000 (almost two decades after he first arrived), he received the official welcome from the White House in the form of a photocopied letter signed by William J. Clinton and became a U.S. citizen.

In 2005 Huerta’s manuscript, Some Clarifications y otros poemas, received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from the University of California, Irvine. This poetry collection was his MFA thesis for the Bilingual MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. At UTEP, he had the privilege of working with talented classmates from Texas, California, Chicago, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Uruguay. Many of his classmates have gone on to receive prestigious awards in their respective countries. His experience at UTEP formed him as a writer and will always be one of the most important phases of his writing career. Indeed, El Paso will remain the center of his literary world. Huerta is currently a graduate student in the English department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.  For more information, please visit our website at http://www.artepublicopress.com/.

In the next installment of a series of monthly features, Classical 91.7’s Eric Ladau spoke with Mr. Huerta about his works.

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Eric Ladau

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NightClassics host and Station Tour Coordinator Eric Ladau graduated from Illinois State University in 1979 with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. While in college, he worked at KFJM in Grand Forks North Dakota and WGLT in Bloomington, Illinois. He hosted jazz, classical, folk and blues music programs and even...

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