The Block Captain's Daughter, Demetria Martinez
The Block Captain's Daughter (novella, 2012, University of Oklahoma Press, 95 pp.)

In this highly imaginative work of fiction by the acclaimed author of Mother Tongue, Demetria Martinez weaves a portrait of six unforgettable characters, whose lives intertwine through their activism as they seek to create a better world and find meaning in their own lives. At the center of this circle of friends is Lupe, and her heartfelt letters to Destiny punctuate the narrative.

Deftly alternating between first-person and second-person narratives, conscious states and dream states, The Block Captainís Daughter is full of delightful surprises, even as it deals with universal themes of desire and risk, death and birth, and the powerful ties that bind us together.

Excerpts and Reviews.       The Block Captain's Daughter on


These People Want to Work: Immigration Reform
Fred Harris and Demetria Martinez

Fascinating case studies tied to timely policy recommendations on how to fix our broken immigration system. Harris and Martinez know what they are talking about--and what they are talking about is doing what's right for the millions of undocumented immigrants who're living in the shadows in this country and what's in the best interests of the rest of us, too.

These People Want to Work on Amazon

Grandpa's Magic Tortilla, Demetria Martinez
Grandpa's Magic Tortilla, a children's book by Demetria Martinez and Rosalee Montoya-Read. Spanish translation by Rosalee Montoya-Read. Illustrations by Lisa May Casaus. ( 2010, University of New Mexico Press, 30 pp.)

When Alejandra, Daniel and Benjamin go to visit their grandparents in Northern New Mexico, a strange thing happens. Grandpa burns a tortilla. When the children look at it, each one sees a different animal in the burn marks. But the grownups don't see a thing. Soon the event causes an uproar in the little town.

Excerpts and Reviews.       Grandpa's Magic Tortilla on

Mother Tongue, Demetria Martinez
Mother Tongue
(novel, Ballantine Books, 1994, 194 pp)

Mary is nineteen and living alone in Albuquerque. Adrift in the wake of her mother's death, she longs for something meaningful to take her over. Then Jose Luis enters her life. A refugee from El Salvador and its bloody civil war, Jose Luis has been smuggled to the United States as part of the sanctuary movement. Mary cannot help but fall in love with the movement and the man. And little by little, she begins to reveal to Jose Luis the part of herself she has never known.

"A masterful storyteller ..An unforgettable story."
      -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As memorable as Like Water for Chocolate, Mother Tongue serves the culture. It will last."
      -The Washington Post Book Review

"It is a great beauty of a book. I am so proud of Demetria Martinez for standing with and for the disappeared."
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1983

"A book that becomes more timely every day, in our present political climate, and deserves the widest possible audience for its beautiful prose and humanitarian heart."
      -Barbara Kingsolver, author of The Poisonwood Bible

Mother Tongue on

Breathing Between the Lines, Demetria Martinez
Breathing Between the Lines (poetry, The University of Arizona Press, 1997, 60 pp)

Many of the poems in this book touch on the themes from Mother Tongue, about an American activist who falls in love with a Salvadoran political refugee. Weaving together threads of love and family, social conviction and activism loss and renewal, Breathing Between the Lines carries the reader deep inside the head and heart of a Chicana writer.

"Demetria Martinez has been noted mostly for her very political fiction and reportage/political prose. She is first and foremost, however, a poet, and she demonstrates in these works that the personal and the spiritual are truly the most political works we can write."
      -Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird's Daughter

Breathing Between the Lines: Poems on

The Devil's Workshop, Demetria Martinez
The Devilís Workshop (poetry, The University of Arizona Press, 2002, 108 pp)

In this collection of fifty-three poems, the author of the award-winning novel Mother Tongue, explores the themes that have long characterized her writing: the creative and destructive powers of romantic love, the failure of political systems, the spiritual life, and the need to forgive oneself in order to move on with the work of transformation, both social and personal. Martinez serves up a heady blend of political and sensual imagery. Her keen observations and compassionate voice lead the reader on a journal of self exploration, of coping with life's mundanities as well as its heartaches. Through her unquenchable passion for life, Demetria Martinez leave the devil's workshop and brings us closer to an understanding of what is real.

"Demetria Martinez's work is forthright and brave. These slender, evocative poems are also intensely lyrical, packed with surprising metaphors. This poet has truly worked the late shift in the heart's sweatshop."
      -Maxine Kumin, Pulitizer Prize for Poetry, 1973

The Devil's Workshop: Poems on

Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana, Demetria Martinez
Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana (poetry, University of Oklahoma Press, 2005, 173 pp)

Demetria Martinez wields her trademark blend of humor and irony in this series of revealing essays. She breaks down the barriers between prayer and action, between the border denizen and the citizen of the world, and between patriarchal religion and the Divine Mother. Martinez also explores her identity as a woman who has within her the blood of the conquered and the conqueror, and who must daily contend with yet a third world-white America.

"Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana takes the reader on Martinez's journey to answer, or perhaps to ameliorate, the sense of anguish she encounters in the individuals she interviews. This collection of her hard-edged columns succeeds in its venture to illuminate what can only be described as the pervasive perplexity of everyday life."
      -Norman Mailer, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1980

"In the beginning was the word. But then the word was co-opted by the politicians. And it was not good. Here, then, is a poet who puts pen to paper to call the world to order. This is the Gospel according to Santa Demetria the peacemaker, and it is good."
      -Sandra Cisneros, author of Caramelo

"Truthtelling by firsthand witnesses to real life, not via fad or fatuousness, is what moves a culture to new levels of insight. Firsthand witness often reveals that life is a wonderland and darkland all rolled into one. There is a need for able guides who have dared to delve into the hinterlands and report back. Intrepid Demetria Martinez is just such a traveler, truthteller, and heartfelt guide."
      -Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana on

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