Lucha Corpi (KOR-pee), called Luz, was born and socialized in Mexico. At an early age, she began to give recitals and read poems in public, encouraged by her teachers. Her youthful adventures with her brother included visiting the ruined house of the revolutionary fighter Juan Sebastián. Afterward, the siblings listened to music from the jukebox at the neighborhood cantina but were caught by their mother. Later, as an adult, Corpi sang and told stories to her own son.
Corpi emigrated at nineteen, in 1965, to San Francisco with her husband. Their son was born there. Five years later they divorced. It is notable that Corpi did not write until living in the Chicano community after the divorce. Mexican literary traditions are stronger than Anglo ones in her work, which employs the codes and conventions of the Hispanic lyrical and romantic tradition, echoing the works of Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, and Federico García Lorca. Corpi’s work presupposes knowledge of Mexican popular expressions and legends such as that of La Llorona, the ghost woman who seeks her children.
Because of the author’s emigration and divorce, Corpi’s work explores the boundaries between Anglo and Mexican cultures and life in a society that permits women to express themselves in writing. She writes her fiction in English and her poetry in Spanish (and collaborates with her longtime translator, Catherine Nieto-Rodríguez, on the bilingual versions). Corpi...
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