On the Bookshelf
Anaya captures Land of Enchantment lore
By Carolyn Gonzales
By Rudolfo Anaya
The name Rudolfo Anaya is synonymous with New Mexico literature and storytelling. His 2004 UNM Press title, "Serafina's Stories" captures the lore of the Land of Enchantment.
Set in 17th century Santa Fe, Serafina, a Pueblo Indian, uses her gift of storytelling and skills in Spanish to encourage the Governor to release a dozen of her people captured for conspiring a revolution against the colonial government.
Just as Serafina works on her colcha embroidery, Anaya weaves together many themes from New Mexico's Hispanic and native tales. Hints of Llorona, coyote and penitentes are interwoven with colorful tales of love lost and lessons learned to create a tapestry to touch the heart of all those drawn to Nuevo Mexico.
Serafina becomes the iconographic storyteller while readers get a lesson from Professor Anaya, "Perhaps that's the function of the cuentos, to allow us to see ourselves in the role of the actors. Like a play, or a mirror.”
Anaya shares his understanding of the role of storytelling in folklore.
"The stories Serafina told belonged to everyone, but whoever told the cuento could weave nuances into the plot. So at each telling something slightly new was woven into the story, and the audience responded as if the cuento was being told for the first time. The themes in the stories were like musical strings, and they played on the emotions of the listener.
One of Serafina's stories is a tale of Fabiano and Reyes. Fabiano learned not to judge a book by its cover when he discovered love in Reyes, one he'd shunned because of her appearance. The true treasure of Anaya's book can only be found in the stories and images thoughtfully presented through the beautiful Serafina.
Rudolfo Anaya will be featured Monday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in SUB ballrooms A and B for "Meet the Author" readings and receptions to benefit the College of Arts and Sciences' Southwest Semester Endowment Fund.