Conditions Governing Access note
Conditions Governing Use note
Processing Information note
Title: Alurista papers
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 21
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material:
11.0 linear feet
(22 document boxes and 1 oversize box)
Date (inclusive): 1954-2010
Alurista's collection consists of papers and literary manuscripts demonstrating his work as a literary artist. The collection
contains certificates and awards, essays, articles, general correspondence, and correspondence relating to his book
Flor y Canto en Aztlán
. His vast collection of research files show his dedication to poetry and literature, as well as Alurista's interest in Chicano,
Mexican-American, and Native American literature. Also included in this collection is footage of Alurista lecturing and reading
his writings out loud. There are 23 boxes total, and are located in Del Norte.
Language of Materials:
The collection is in English and Spanish.
Conditions Governing Access note
Conditions Governing Use note
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
[Identification of Item], Alurista papers, CEMA 21. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University
of California, Santa Barbara.
This collection was donated by Alurista in March 2001.
Processing Information note
Salvador Güereña, additional processing by Michelle Wilder, March 21, 2002. Updated by Mari Khasmanyan in 2014.
Alurista is one of the leading literary figures during the Chicano Movement era. He is most well known for his support of
the Chicano Movement through his literature and poetry. Alurista was an early Chicano activist, credited in helping to establish
the Centro Cultural de la Raza in San Diego. During the Chicano Movement Alurista authored significant manifestos of the movement.
He was one of the first poets to establish the concept of Aztlán in his writings, a concept that envisions a return to the
praises of the Aztec civilization. He is also the co-founder of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) which
when translated, means Chicano student movement of Aztlán, that helped organize the Chicano Studies Program at San Diego State
Alurista was born in Mexico City on August 8, 1947, given the name Alberto Baltazar Urista. It was in 1966 that he began to
write ardent poetry for publication and adopted the pen name Alurista, which is the only name he uses now. When Alurista began
to publish poetry in the late 1960's he soon became recognized for his dexterity in English, Spanish, Raya, and Nahuatl, and
also for blending standard and slang languages in his writings. After coming to the United States as a teenager, Alurista
graduated from High school in 1965 and began studying business administration at Chapman College, in Orange, California, only
to find that this field was uninteresting to him. He then transferred to San Diego State College and began studying religion.
However, when he found the overwhelming dogma of the instructors too much for him, he switched to sociology, then to social
welfare. It was at San Diego State that Alurista helped establish MECHA in 1967. During the Denver Youth Conference in 1969,
Alurista helped draft El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán (The Spiritual Plan of Aztlán), which offered support to the resolutions
being adopted by the conference members. After working as a psychiatric childcare worker and as a counselor, he worked with
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) and the Brown Berets. He then graduated with a BA in psychology from San Diego State
Alurista went on to earn his M.A. from San Diego State in 1978 and then his Ph.D. in literature from the University of California,
San Diego in 1983. He focused his dissertation on the novel, The Revolt of the Cockroach People, by Oscar Zeta-Acosta. He
has since then published five anthologies of his poetry. He has written many essays and literary criticisms on the Chicano
Movement as well as on Chicano culture that have been widely published in anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He has lectured
at many colleges, universities, and at other establishments worldwide. Alurista taught at California State Polytechnic College
in San Luis Obispo as a professor of Spanish from 1986 to 1990. He has lived in Denver, Colorado, where he was a faculty member
at Escuela Tlatelolco teaching Chicano thought, culture, and literature. He also continues to lecture and give readings at
universities throughout the country.
Series I: Personal and Biographical, 1954-1996. This series spans three document boxes and is divided into ten subseries which
are as follows: Certificates and Diplomas, which represents almost 30 years of achievements and awards including the poet’s
doctorate degree from the University of California at San Diego (arranged chronologically); Essays, about Alurista and his
body of work, including a bibliography of works and 2 criticisms (arranged alphabetically by title); Newspaper Articles, which
is comprised mostly of articles about Alurista, as well as some interviews and one article written by the poet (arranged chronologically);
PhD Spanish Literature, is primarily made up of Report on 3 Graduate Student forms chronicling Alurista’s progress and also
includes a small variety of correspondence most importantly of which is a letter certifying Alurista’s completion of the requirements
for the degree (ordered chronologically); Photographs, which span from childhood to adulthood and include both personal and
professional activities (i.e. performing at La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley, California, a performance at Festival Floricanto,
San Antonio and another at National Association for Chicano Studies Conference; Professional Activities, includes documents
relating to conferences, festivals, proposals and symposia such as a selection of flyers, some of which advertise performances
by the poet as well as research grant proposals (arranged alphabetically by title); Theses, includes one thesis written about
Alurista; Vitae, which is comprised mostly of formal résumés and includes autobiographical statements (due to lack of dates
an attempt has been made to preserve the original arrangement). The series also includes a Personal Confidential document
box which has been stored in the vault. This box is confidential and will remain closed until ten years following the Donor's
death, or the year 2030, whichever comes first.
Series II: Correspondence, 1969-1993. This series is contained in three document boxes and includes both general correspondence
and that which relates to specific themes, such as employment and the poet’s book
Flor y Canto en Aztlán (arranged alphabetically by title and chronologically within titles).
Series III: Writings, 1969-2002. This series spans four document boxes and is divided into 7 subseries which are arranged
as follows: Conference Presentations, includes a small variety of topics from Aztlán and identity to the future of Chicano
studies; Dissertation, is divided in three sub subseries which are Approved, Component Parts, and Edited Manuscript Drafts
(each sub subseries is arranged chronologically); Essays, contains essays by the poet on a variety of topics including one
handwritten essay with no title (arranged chronologically); Poetry, includes collections of poetry as well as individual poems
which have been gathered in folder by year (or not dated indicated by “n.d.”) and titled “various” (arranged alphabetically
by title and chronologically within titles); Miscellany, contains a journal with study notes on literature from UC San Diego,
notes on the history of Chicano literature, a screen treatment, a speech for a Chicano graduation and contains the poet’s
translation of Hunab Ku an essay originally by Domingo Martínez Paredez.
Series IV: Research Files, 1848-1994 (bulk dates 1970-1990). This series spans to eleven document boxes and is arranged alphabetically
by title. Throughout his academic and personal careers, Alurista collected an astounding number of essays (both published
and not), bibliographies, a few poems, and several books which he annotated. While some of the topics vary widely, there are
topics, which are more prevalent such as theories on Chicano, Mexican-American and Native American literature.
Series V: Teaching, Tenure and Promotion Files, 1965-1992. This series is contained within one document box and represents
the poet’s academic career in the strictest sense; preserved here are correspondence to and from academic institutions, course
materials including descriptions and evaluations, and files relating to tenure and retention. It is arranged alphabetically.
Series VI: Toltecas en Aztlán, 1970. This series is contained in one folder and includes, among other documents, project proposals,
essays and an original list of demands written by the Chicano Caucus concerning Chicano Park and El Centro Cultural de la
Series VII: Oversize, 1975-1976. This series contains materials, which have been removed from their original folder placement
for the sake of preservation. In cases where material has been removed, an indication has been made in both the original folder
and the oversized folder as to the contents origins. This series is arranged alphabetically by title.
Series VIII: Videos, 2010. This series contains footage of a Alurista reading his poem Scratching Six, Plucking One, Alurista
at a symposium on Chicano Literature in 1990, the Alurista Bilingual Poetry Recital, given I New Mexico in 2002, and Alurista
giving a lecture on the history and definition of Chicano literature. Materials relating to the Alurista Bilingual Poetry
Recital event can be found in Series III: Writings in the sub series titled Poetry. This series is arranged chronologically
with undated items first.
The collection consists of eight series spanning 23 archival boxes. The collection contains important papers pertaining to
Alurista's academic work, (his dissertation, and his class curriculum). It also contains material detailing his interest and
work with other Chicano scholars and organizations. The collection helps to illuminate Alurista's interests in poetry and
spiritualism. It contains videos Alurista owned, research sources into Chicano issues, as well as correspondence and biographical
information including photographs, correspondence, essays and diplomas. For his earlier literary manuscripts researchers will
want to consult the Benson Latin-American Collection at the University of Texas, Austin. Alurista's literary manuscripts up
to the year 1972 are located there. It is important to note here that there are a number of publications (mostly books) that
were a part of Alurista's private library which have been signed by the author with a personal message to Alurista (or to
Alurista and Xelina, his wife). These publications have been catalogued separately and can be searched using the library's
online catalog, Pegasus.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Chicano movement -- California
Mexican American poets -- 20th century
Mexican Americans in literature