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“Flora & Fauna Crónica” is from the book, Killer Crónicas, which will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2004. This collection of chronicles began in 2000, after Susana was awarded a fellowship by the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project on contemporary Argentine women's poetry. She spent thirteen months in Buenos Aires where, in addition to research and writing on her official (academic) book, she began to send bilingual, punning “letters from the southern [cone] front” to colleagues and friends by email. Susana says: “Living in Buenos Aires, that gorgeous, turn of the century city in a country on the brink of (economic) collapse—home to many of the authors and artists I had long admired (Borges, Cortázar, Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, and before them the foundational Romantics, Sarmiento and Echeverría)—brought out a sense of self, dis/placed yet oddly at home, in a cultural, linguistic and even tangible way. In Buenos Aires, the fragmented parts of me, the voices, cultures, and places inside of me, rubbed up against each other and struck fire. I called my email missives “Crónicas,” inspired by the somewhat rough-hewn, journalistic, often fantastic first-hand accounts sent “home” by the early conquistadores, and refashioned by modern-day counterparts such as Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Poniatowska, and Cristina Pacheco.” One of Susana’s crónicas, “Anniversary Crónica,” inspired by the wedding anniversary of Susana’s parents and by the so-called “Soweto Riots” in South Africa, was recently awarded First prize in Personal Memoir in the Chicano Literary Excellence Contest sponsored by the U.S. national literary magazine el Andar.
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