This article is from the June 2003 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Tameme Publishes
"Reconquest / Reconquista"
with a Grant from the US / Mexico Fund for Culture 

Tameme, the annual bilingual journal of new writing from North America, has published "Reconquista / Reconquest," a special issue funded with a grant from the US-Mexico Fund for Culture. The US-Mexico Fund for Culture was founded in 1991 on the initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation, The Bancomer Cultural Foundation, and Mexico's National Fund for Culture and the Arts.

Tameme (pronounced “ta-may-may") is an Nahuatl (Aztec) word meaning “messenger” or“porter.”

Dubbed by Bloomsbury Review, “a cultured, literary response to NAFTA,” Tameme showcases new writing from North America – that is, Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, in side-by-side English/Spanish format with extensive translator’s notes. Tameme is edited by award-winning writer and translator C.M. Mayo, and has been widely lauded for its maverick stance on the importance of the art of Spanish to English and English to Spanish literary translation.

The issue's theme, “Reconquest / Reconquista,” was inspired by the essay “La Reconquista in the Inland Empire” by Philip Garrison. Writes Garrison, “Originating in Spain, [the term] had denoted the slow retaking of Christendom by infidel hands. In the New World, though, the phrase acquired a raw, insouciant tone.... As street politics, La Reconquista even implied that Mexican nationals...were merely reclaiming land the U.S. had stolen from Mexico.” “And thus,” writes C.M. Mayo in the letter from the editor, “this sword of a term is, like one of Uri Geller's spoons, bent into another meaning entirely.”

The many other essays, stories and poems in the issue approach the idea “reconquest” in terms as different as love, the weather, fame, identity, and even time itself.

The issue's 47 contributors are all either from or reside in Canada, the US or Mexico. They include Alberto Blanco, one of Mexico’s most outstanding poets; Marilyn Chin, a distinguished San Diego-based poet; Farley Mowat, one of Canada’s most elegant and controversial writers; Charles Simic, winner of the Pultizer Prize in Poetry; and Mexican novelist and essayist Juan Villoro, winner of the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize.  

Literary Magazine Review recognized Tameme as “a wonderful discovery. This is a journal that opens up to readers of both English and Spanish, prose and poetry in their original form face to face with translations finely enough crafted that it is usually difficult...to tell which was the original. Look at it as a collection of well-written, accessible, enjoyable literature, as a window onto two cultures, or as a gentle guide to learning another language; whichever way, it is an important addition to the roster of literary magazines.”

Founding editor C.M. Mayo is the author of Sky Over El Nido, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction (and will be published in Mexico as El cielo de El Nido), and Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico. Mayo's website is www.cmmayo.com .

Tameme's ISSN is 1089-7208. The current issue and back issues are available for $14.95 per copy in selected bookstores in North America, and on the Internet via Tameme's website, www.tameme.org . 

My indicated altitude in Cordoba is 400 feet lower than published. But, Lea lives on the wrong side of the tracks, which is clearly lower than the center of town. Within 36 hours after reaching Cordoba, the altimeter changed almost 200 feet.