Anthologies don’t get enough respect. It can sometimes feel as if anthologies aren’t meant for real people to read, but instead to flip through while your eighth grade English teacher is asking about story structure or dramatic irony. Or worse yet, anthologies feel like a centralization of power by always covering the same ol’ same ol’ dead, white male writers.
However, anthologies outside of textbooks have been the site of some exciting work within the past few years. They can be a fantastic place to discover writers both new to you and new to publishing, can house undiscovered short pieces by new favorites or allow you to deep dive into an unfamiliar genre.
We’ve compiled a list of seven Latinx, Latin American, and Latinx-leaning anthologies that feature collections of poetry, short stories, comics and more. Each of them contains both familiar names and new ones, and could set you off on a whole new reading adventure.
The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature
- Edited by Edna Acosta-Belén, Harold Augenbraum, María Herrera-Sobek, Rolando Hinojosa, Gustavo Pérez Firmat, and Ilan Stavans
Remember how I said anthologies weren’t just for reading in classrooms? This one kind of is. Norton Anthologies are hefty collections of classics, with onion skin pages and a million entries that are basically assigned reading for any English 101 college course.
TheNorton Anthology of Latino Literature spans De Las Casas to Daniel Alarcón, and features manifestos from the Young Lords, op-eds from Cesar Chavez and poems from Jose Martí. It’s an incredible attempt at creating a canon of Latinx literature, tantito de todo. While it, like so many other canon-building attempts, has its problems, it’s absolutely an interesting place to start.
Tales from La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology
- Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama
Melding art and text, these comics mostly take their inspiration from la vida itself. All are autobiographical reflections of the cartoonists’ own lives, and are as diverse as the styles of the artists that are portrayed. If you’re new to artists like Kat Fajardo or the Hernandez brothers of Love and Rockets fame, this will be a great introduction. The book also has up-and-coming artists for you to follow on Instagram, including Adam Hernandez, Breena Nuñez, and Myra Lara.
Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color
While Nepantla is a journal and not an anthology, it takes the idea of nepantla, an in-between, shifting space of possiblity from Latinx theory, and uses it as a space where queer poets of color can play. Not only that, but all of Nepantla, which covers a large scope of work, is available online via Lambda Literary’s site, so you can dive deep into their three issues for free!
- Edited by Matthew David Goodwin and Frederick Luis Aldama
Compiled to show that Latinx literature is more than just “magical realism and social realist protest literature,” [email protected] Rising pulls from some of the best and brightest in Latinx letters. With stories from Carmen Maria Machado, Daniel José Older, and many more, the collection spans a wide range of subgenres (horror, urban fantasy) and takes a variety of forms (photo collage, flash fiction, novellas).
- Edited by Dr. Melissa Castillo Planas
Manteca!, published in 2017, is the first collection to focus exclusively on the work of Afro-Latinx poets, and boy, oh, boy does it deliver. With poetry from 40 poets with differing recognition, national origin and language, the anthology presents poetry as varied as the Afro-Latinx experience. With old favorites like Miguel Piñero, a founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and more contemporary authors like Elizabeth Acevedo, Manteca! is the first step in filling a gap in traditional publishing.
In 2007, and again in 2017, the U.K.’s prestigious Hay Festival asked publishers to nominate Latinx writers. The festival organizers then came up with a list of 39 writers that represented the future of Latinx literature. The 2007 list includes many writers who are now superstars: Guadalupe Nettel, Álvaro Enrigue, and Daniel Alarcón. Reading the 2017 version ought to give you a leg up on the next seven years of outstanding Latin American writers.
New Poets of Native Nations
- Edited by Heid E. Erdrich
Thanks to legacies of colonialism and racism, many native poets also share Latinx ancestry, language, and customs. Poets in this collection – such as Natalie Diaz, Julian Talamantez Brolaski and Craig Santos Perez – are writing through several overlapping languages and identities at once. This beautifully edited anthology will introduce you to new poets writing both within and without the Latinx tradition.