Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives by Juan Felipe Herrera

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Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems pairs the masterful artwork of Mexican artist Artemio Rodriguez witht he poetry of Juan Felipe Herrera, one of America's finest Chicano writers.

Here is a collection of linoleum cuts and poetry based on the imagery of la lotería, a popular folkloric game of chance that originated in 18th-century colonial Mexico and is still quite popular today. Rodriguez's prints are haunting and exquisite, and Herrera's hallucinatory, sometimes poignant poems were written in direct response to them. Together, they map the modern heart of this richly symbolic popular tradition.

Lotería is a unique collaboration, a seamless union of word and image, and of Mexican and Chicano sensibilities. A commonly shared tradition has engendered a brilliant and inspiring leap across borders into a game of life with many ways to win.

"The gorgeous black and white line art inside this hefty little book instantly caught my eye. These linocut drawings were not the regular loteria images. They were modern adaptations, made with painstaking detail (think of a turn-of-the-millenium, wired Posada) and showing a distinctive sense of humor and pathos. The poetry, commissioned especially for the drawings, also showed a fresh and modern take on the icons of Mexicanismo and Chicanismo." —Frontera Magazine

"Narratives, the stories we tell as we propel through our own lives, are fundamental and inextricable from existence. This is why people, I include myself, fight in the name of civil rights, of all kinds. Juan Felipe Herrera is a cosmic warrior for us all, the closest kin to Walt Whitman walking." — David Tomas Martinez, Los Angeles Review of Books

Juan Felipe Herrera is a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His creative work often crosses genres, including poetry, opera, and dance theater. His children’s book, The Upside Down Boy (2000), was adapted into a musical. His books for young people have won several awards, including Calling the Doves (2001), winner of the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and CrashBoomLove (1999), a novel-in-verse for young adults, which won the Americas Award. His poetry collection Half of the World in Light was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle prize in 2009. Herrera lives in Fresno, CA.

Artemio Rodríguez is an artist from Michoacán, Mexico, born in 1972. He came to the United States in 1994 and lived for a time in Los Angeles, where he began the work that would ultimately become the Lotería series. He has been living in the Bay Area since 1996, and his work is shown in galleries and museums throughout Mexico and the U.S.