Teresa Palomo AcostaJun 24, 2022
A Writing Life in Four Acts
Women in Texas History Series 2021
Tejanaland: A Writing Life in Four Acts (Texas A&M UP, 2021) by Teresa Palomo Acosta--poet, historian, author, and activist--spans three decades of her writing, from 1988 through 2018. The collection is divided into four parts: poems, essays, a children's story, and plays. Each work addresses cultural, historical, political, and gender realities that she experienced from her childhood to the present.
The plays, set in the Central Texas Blackland Prairies where Acosta was raised, provide a unique Latina vision of memory, identity, and experience and are a vital contribution to Chicana feminist thought. The essays focus on Acosta's literary heroes Jovita González de Mireles, Sara Estela Ramírez, and Elena Zamora O'Shea, important writers who contributed significantly to Tejana literature and to Texas letters. The children's story, "Colchas, Colchitas," is based on Acosta's most notable poem, "My Mother Pieced Quilts," which pays homage to her mother and the many women of her generation who employed needles and thread, creating both practical and symbolic artifacts.
This collection is a creative and, indeed, essential expansion of boundaries for what we think of as history, offering a unique and compelling look into the lived experiences and interior contemplations of a Texas artist well worth knowing. Readers will increase their understanding of Tejana experience in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Tejanaland promises to become an important addition to the cultural record, informing historical perspectives on the experiences of Tejana women and contributing significantly to the existing body of work from Tejana writers.
Tiffany González is an Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University. She is a historian of Chicana/Latinx history, American politics, and social movements.