Weaving together poetry and prose, Spanish and English, family history and political theory, Loving in the War Years has been a classic in the feminist and Chicano canon since its 1983 release. This new edition—including a new introduction and three new essays—remains a testament of Moraga's coming-of-age as a Chicana and a lesbian at a time when the political merging of those two identities was severely censured.
Drawing on the Mexican legacy of Malinche, the symbolic mother of the first mestizo peoples, Moraga examines the collective sexual and cultural wounding suffered by women since the Conquest. Moraga examines her own mestiza parentage and the seemingly inescapable choice of assimilation into a passionless whiteness or uncritical acquiescence to the patriarchal Chicano culture she was raised to reproduce. By finding Chicana feminism and honoring her own sexuality and loyalty to other women of color, Moraga finds a way to claim both her family and her freedom.
Moraga's new essays, written with a voice nearly a generation older, continue the project of "loving in the war years," but Moraga's posture is now closer to that of a zen warrior than a street-fighter. In these essays, loving is an extended prayer, where the poet-politica reflects on the relationship between our small individual deaths and the dyings of nations of people (pueblos). Loving is an angry response to the "cultural tyranny" of the mainstream art world and a celebration of the strategic use of "cultural memory" in the creation of an art of resistance.
Cherríe Moraga is the co-editor of the classic feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back and the author of The Last Generation. She is Artist-in-Residence at Stanford University.