Critical Works

flesh to bone

Border Arte as Medicine: Healing Beyond the Confines of Our Skin, Amanda Ellis, Chicana/Latina Studies 17:1, Fall 2017

border arte as medicine

Abstract: Inspired by Chicana literature’s emphasis on healing, this essay begins with a close reading of Gloria Anzaldua’s poem, “La Curandera” as a means of theorizing the concept of Border Arte-as-Medicine given that this poem remains a critical site from which to chart a distinctly Anzalduan legacy that situates border artists, and border arte itself as vital to our conceptualization of healing. In addition, this essay gestures towards the transformative power of curanderismo and its importance in Chicana writing. It then turns to ire’ne lara silva’s short story, “duermete” to show how another Chicana feminist writer is not only in metaphoric conversation with Anzaldua, but further developing a distinctly Chicana dicourse on healing. The article reveals an enduring commitment to return to, recuperate, and refashion the tenets of curanderismo in order to heal from the ongoing trauma associated with Chicana/o experiences in the neoliberal moment, a call posed by Chicana writers in the post-Chicana/o Movement era.

Bruja, Curandera, y Lechuza: Collapsing Borders and Fusing Images, Amanda Ellis, Chicana/Latina Studies 19:1, Fall 2019

Abstract: Comparatively reading ire’ne lara silva’s short story titled “tecolotl” from her 2013 collection flesh to bone against Rudolfo Anaya’s 1972 classic, Bless Me, Ultima, this essay argues that lara silva collapses the distinctions between key literary and folkloric images. By fusing the bruja, curandera, and lechuza figures into one character, her short story engages Anaya’s classic and creates an altogether new mythical and powerful figure. This mythical figure disrupts the binary distinction between bruja and curandera, it cautions against and emerges out of intra-communal heartache and underscores the irreducibility of Chicana complexity. Additionally, this essay goes on to illuminate the ways in which lara silva threads popular cultural expressions to score the dynamism of Chicana/o experience as rendered through contemporary Chicana feminist narrative.

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Healing Specters and Borderlands Trauma in Ire’ne Lara Silva’s flesh to bone, Lauren K.  Reynolds, Chiricu Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, 5:2, Spring 2021

Abstract: This essay analyzes spectral presences in two stories published in Ire’ne Lara Silva’s short story collection, flesh to bone (2013). Spectrality theory holds that specters can represent unresolved trauma by keeping present events that have been erased, forgotten, or suppressed from official memory and/or discourse. Aligning with this claim, specters in the selected stories, “duermete” and “la huesera, or, flesh to bone” haunt in memory of acts of violence against women….

Unpublished Papers/Conference Presentations:

“Bones breaking and speaking”: The Brown Commons in Ire’ne Lara Silva’s “cortando las nubes” and “la huesera” Magda García, University of California, Santa Barbara, Latina/o Utopias: Futures, Forms, and the Will of Literature, April 2015,
Speaking in Scarlet: Tejana/Xicana Literary Horror Interventions in ire’ne lara silva’s “hunger/hambre/mayantli” Magda García, University of California, Santa Barbara,
Engendering Chicana Horror Poetics: ire’ne lara silva’s flesh to bone, Magda Garcia, University of California, Santa Barbara, Ford Conference, October 2018,
“La Diosa Coatlicue: Gloria Anzaldúa and ire’ne lara silva Redefine the Mesoamerican Deity,”  Amanda Cuellar, University of Oklahoma, MALCS Conference, August 2018
The Living Among the Dead: Mythic Realism in Ire’ne Lara Silva’s flesh to bone, Brett Douglas Burkhart University of Oklahoma, Native American Literature Symposium, March 2018,
Making it New: Teaching ire’ne lara silva’s Flesh to Bone to Mexican American Students, Britt Haraway, UT-Rio Grande Valley, South Central MLA Conference 2015, Nashville, TN
“Secret Traumas: Viscerality and Affect in ire’ne lara silva’s flesh to bone.” Michael Martinez-Raguso, Colby College, Biennial Conference of the Latina/o Studies Association
Narration of Violence / Violence of Narration: The Ethics of Time and Space in Representing Femicide, Michael Martinez-Raguso, Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Mini-Conference
Abstract: This paper approaches the ethics of representation of femicidal violence on the Mexican-U.S. border through both space (distance vs. proximity) and time (repetition, past vs. present narration) by examining the movement between these elements across three radically different texts: Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666, Carlos Carrera’s film; Backyard: El traspatio, and ire’ne lara silva’s story “la huesera, or, flesh to bone.” Against the fetishization of the cadaver found in the work of Bolaño and Carrera, lara silva’s backward narration of femicidal violence signals a mythological fantasy of healing whose ethics are rooted in a spiritual relation to time itself.
Chapter 4: Spiritual Community and the Grief of Borderlore, Master’s Thesis: Chicana/o Literature and the Folkloric Difference, Elena Valdez, Rice University

Blood Sugar Canto

Published Papers:

The Rituals of Health, Amelia Maria de la Luz Montes, The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture, ed. Frederick Luis Aldama, Routledge, 2016
Susto, Sugar, and Song, Kalfou, Volume 7, Issue 2 (Fall 2020).
Queer Chicana feminist writer ire’ne lara silva’s 2016 poetry collection Blood Sugar Canto presents in verse a poetic elaboration of living with chronic illness in the neoliberal era. The collection illuminates the shiing, and at times altogether fraught, dynamics of power that characterize contemporary U.S. biomedical clinical encounters; it comments on what it means to undergo diagnosis, and it highlights the struggles and denigration Chicanas/os with chronic illness encounter day to day. Accordingly, building from Paula Moya’s (2002, 3) premise that the “texts and lived experience of Chicanas/os and other racially marginalized people are rich sources of frequently overlooked information about our shared world,” this article asserts that Blood Sugar Canto can offer insights for theorizing relations of domination and modalities of resistance and healing, even as it advances claims about our shared right to dignity.

Unpublished Papers/Conference Presentations:

Como nos Curamos: Blood Sugar Canto’s Chicana Diabetic Poetics Amanda Ellis, University of Houston  [Forthcoming],
“ire’ne lara silva’s Chicana Poetics and the Anzaldúan Legacy,” Amanda Ellis, University of Houston, El Mundo Zurdo/Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua, May 2018,
 “Sugar, Shame, Love: Rewriting Diabetic Latinidades,” Julie Avril Minich, University of Texas at Austin,

“Divergent Thinking:  Reclaiming, Rethinking Ancestral and Indigenous Healing Practices in the Poetry of ire’ne lara silva.”  The Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa (SSGA). San Antonio, Texas.  November 4, 2016.

Chapter 3: Tracing “Outlawed Knowledges” of the Ailing Body in Contemporary Chicana Illness Autohistorias, Dissertation: Depathologizing the Diseased Body, Creating Alternative Knowledges: Chicana and African American Women’s Epistemologies of Critical Illness, Christina Gutierrez, University of Texas at San Antonio

Enduring Azucares

Toxic Intimacy in Chicana and Mexicana Aesthetic Practices,  Dissertation, p163-171, Jonathan Gomez

furia and Blood Sugar Canto

“I Heal Myself, I Heal the World”: Emancipating Spirituality Through Creative Practices, Masters Thesis, Gabriella V. Sanchez

Official website for poet/writer ire'ne lara silva

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