Search: Advanced Search

Rebozos book coverRebozos

by Carmen Tafolla

buy now


Hardback, 9x11 inches, 64 pages

blue ribbonInternational Latino Book Award, First Place for Best Book of Bilingual Poetry, First Place for Best Art Book, and First Place for Best Gift Book


watch video

This bilingual collection of poems by Carmen Tafolla celebrates both the rebozo as a cultural icon of Mexico and the series of rebozo-inspired paintings by Mexican-California artist Catalina Gárate. These ekphrastic poems --art inspired by art -- give voices to the women of Gárate's paintings, voices of strength and endurance, joy and sorrow.

The Mexican rebozo is more than a woman's garment. Yes, it is a rectangle of cloth that can be worn as a shawl or scarf, but it is also a simple tool that has become a cultural icon. An essential element of daily life for centuries, one might say it is a physical manifestation of Mexican womanhood a silent witness to every state of life: a tool of daily labor, a sling to carry children, a shield from weather or from prying eyes, finally either an heirloom or a shroud. At the same time, the manner of its wearing can express every emotion, from shy seduction to sorrow, from flaunted status to simple joys and fears.

Catalina Gárate's paintings capture what she calls "this unifying element, the rebozo," which has been for the artist "a theme of profound personal significance." The rebozo is symbolic of the mestizo blending of peoples in Mexico, and it is used at every level of society. From the expensive Otomí rebozos of San Luis Potosi to the common rebozo de bolita, this garment is an integral part of Mexican life. Gárate is hardly the first artist to be inspired by the rebozo. Several of Frida Kahlo's self-portraits show her wearing rebozos from different regions of Mexico. The great photographer of the Mexican Revolution, Agustín Casasola, often captured soldaderas wearing rebozos. Novelist Sandra Cisneros used the idea of the rebozo as a binding metaphor in her novel, Caramelo.

Poet Carmen Tafolla was "haunted by Gárate's paintings" and by the voices of Mexican and Mexican-American women. She found poetry in those images and voices and she "painted those colors into poetry, those expressions of posture and stance into voice.... The words of these women in the paintings are, like rebozos themselves, both soft and strong. The poetry lies in the courage of their lives."

Critical Praise


author's photo reading glasses About This Author

Read more about Carmen Tafolla

Buy This Book : $19.95

ISBN 978-0-916727-98-7
US $19.95
Secure credit card shopping!
credit cards