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Guide to the Lucha Corpi Papers CEMA 26
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Collection Details
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  • Biography
  • Acquisition Information
  • Scope Note
  • Processing Information note

  • Title: Lucha Corpi Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 26
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.0 linear feet (16 document boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1958-2008
    Location: Special Collections Del Norte


    Lucha Corpi is a celebrated Chicana author born in Jaltipan Veracruz in 1945. She has received numerous literary awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Latino Hallmark Book Award. She was president of the Centro Chicano de Escritores (Chicano Writers Center), and a member of the international feminist mystery novel circle, Sisters in Crime. Currently, she lives and teaches English in Oakland, California. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines anthologies, and in the collection, Fireflight (1976).
    Corpi was first introduced to poetry through the poetic rhythm of song. She once said, “My father liked singing and music very much, many different kinds and types of music. Through him I developed a sense of musicality…or what you call poetic rhythm. When I write now I try to create sounds that have a musical tone. I still write in Spanish because the tones I learned as a child were all in Spanish.”
    Her early childhood teachers encouraged these talents by having her perform recitals and memorize poems. In 1964, she came to California at the age of nineteen, enrolling at the University of California Berkeley. She received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and her M.A. from San Francisco State University in World and Comparative Literature.
    Lucha Corpi, who goes by the name “Luz”, began writing during a difficult period in her life, simply to express all the pent up feelings she was experiencing. She found that she had an innate understanding of words. As she says, “I could charge them with electricity, make them shine, and make them do what I wanted them to do.”
    Nearly all of Lucha Corpi’s poems have been translated into English by Catherine Rodriguez-Nieto, a writer in her own right and a master of translation.
    Corpi sums up the relationship of her educational experience to her writing in the following manner, “I don’t consider writing a profession. Its reason for existing is different. Education is important because it allows you to read and study works that help you in the craft of your writing, the apparatus, the structure in which you place your experience. That is useful. But, education can also intimidate you so that you can never write.”
    Lucha Corpi is part of the great renaissance in Latino literature taking place throughout the United States. Her major works include, Delia's Song (1984), Eulogy for a Brown Angel (1992), Cactus Blood (1995), Palabras de mediodia/Noon Words (1980), Variations on a Storm (1990) and Where Fireflies Dance (1997). Eulogy for a Brown Angel received the 1992 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and the 1992 Multicultural Publishers' Exchange Award.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Lucha Corpi on September 26, 2000.

    Scope Note

    The Lucha Corpi Papers are primarily arranged according to subject matter and date. Wherever possible they have been maintained in their original order to reflect the design of the creator. Series I: Personal and Biographical contains articles and reviews with mention of the writer and her work, awards and certificates, correspondence, event invitations, presentations, resumes, and miscellaneous biographical materials. Stored in an individual box, some correspondence has been classified confidential at this time, at the request of the donor. The correspondence will be accessible ten years after the donor's death or the year 2030, whichever comes first. In addition, Series II: Literary Work falls into seven sub-series, School Papers, “Cuentos Infantiles,” Short Stories, Poetry, Novels, Personal Essay, and Research Materials for her novels. Series III: Photographs has been arranged according to the creator’s original order and each photo has had its information cited in this guide wherever that information was available. Finally, there is also Series IV: Audio/Video with material that features the writer and her work.

    Processing Information note

    Principle processor Alexander Hauschild, assisted by Viviana Gonzalez, Courtney Bone, 2001. Callie Bowdish and Paola Novo updated series III in January, 2009 and April 9, 2009. Updated January 2011 by Danely Segoviano.