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Cecilio García Camarillo Papers

Identifier: MSS-755-BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists largely of materials related to García-Camarillo’s work as a publisher, as reflected in works he produced and those produced by his contemporaries. A widely celebrated poet and an untiring activist, García-Camarillo developed long lasting relationships in the Chicano literary and cultural communities. The collection is divided into seven series:

Biographical Information, Correspondence (1971-2001)contains one file of biographical information on Cecilio García-Camarillo as well as his thirty years of personal correspondence with contemporaries in the Chicano literary community.

Interviews (1977-1997) contains several interviews conducted by Cecilio García-Camarillo with Chicana/o literary writers and activists across the Southwest. Several of the interviews are from the Atrisco Oral History Project.

Written Works (1970-2000) is a compilation of literary texts written or collected by Cecilio García-Camarillo. As a whole, this series provides researchers with a critical intellectual historiography that influenced García-Camarillo’s activism and literary career. This series is composed of five parts: Cecilio García-Camarillo Publications, Publications by Others, Poetry, Essays, Plays, and Exhibition Catalogues. Cecilio García-Camarillo's publications consist of literary magazines and newspapers published by García-Camarillo, including Magazin, Caracol, and RAYAS. This section also contains a collection of chapbooks created and published by García-Camarillo and his family (former wife Mia García-Camarillo). Publications by Others consists of publications collected by García-Camarillo. Poetry contains various artistic works, primarily by Chicanos or dealing largely with Chicano subject matter. Included is a collection of poetry by García-Camarillo and friends, including Juan Jose Peña. Essays are written by friends of García-Camarillo and include numerous unpublished typescripts, some by Juan Jose Peña. Plays (1983-1994) is comprised of materials relating to plays adapted, translated, bilingualized, and written or co-written by Cecilio García-Camarillo. Scripts are written by García-Camarillo and other authors. Exhibition catalogs include featured works by artists such as Cesar Martinez and Delilah Montoya.

Translations (1978-1999). García-Camarillo’s mastery of both Spanish and English made him a skilled translator. The first section of this series are translations that García-Camarillo completed for various groups. Cultural Vernacular Translations consists of poems García-Camarillo translated from Spanish into English, then into his own familiar Chicano vernacular language, often using ‘calo’ or ‘pachuquismos.’ A large portion of the poems he translated in this section were by Cuban poet and revolutionary hero José Martí.

Reference / Information (1973-1990) relates to García-Camarillo’s efforts as an activist and includes information on the Mario Cantu Defense Committee, the Francisco "Kiko" Martinez Defense Committee, the death penalty in New Mexico, the Partido de La Raza Unida of New Mexico. Also included in this series are folders titled, "Chicano Literary Criticism," containing essays and reviews from the late 1970s discussing Chicano literature.

Espejos de Aztlán (1980-2001) - Founded in 1980 by García-Camarillo, Espejos de Aztlán is a weekly local public affairs program on Albuquerque’s public radio station, KUNM. This collection holds over two hundred radio interviews of socially and politically conscious artists, musicians, writers and activists dealing with contemporary issues affecting the Chicano/Mexicano/Latino community of New Mexico and the Southwest. A few interviews concern Latin American topics.

Audio/Video includes videos about Chicana/o culture in the Southwest. Both "Colores/Colors: The Art of Patrick Trujillo" and "Pajarito Mesa: Living on the Edge" are narrated by Cecilio García-Camarillo.

Photos, Artwork, Calendars includes art calendars and silkscreens by Roberto Rios, Cesar Martinez, and Amado M. Peña Jr. Several posters in the collection are from various Chicana/o theatre companies. Advertisements for several plays directed or written by García-Camarillo are part of the artwork collection. Photographs in the collection consist of various images of graffiti across Albuquerque, García-Camarillo with friends and family, several Chicana/o protests/marches, and several activists, such as José Angél Gutierrez and Reies López Tijerina. Large sized "poemas visuals" are also included in this series.


  • 1970-2002


Language of Materials

English Spanish

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Access to reel to reel audio tapes requires advance notice so that they may be reformatted for patron/research use.

Access to original Amado Peña print requires 48 hour advance notice.

Biographical Information

Activist, poet, publisher, editor, literary journalist, textual artist, script writer, radio personality, and cultural attaché, Cecilio García-Camarillo was a complete Chicano renaissance man, a gentle warrior whose cultural activism over the past quarter-century has transfigured Chicano literary culture. Cecilio has seventeen bilingual chapbooks to his credit and has created over five hundred "poemas visuales" - poster-sized frames of text swirled into rivers and patterns that graphically recall the forces that created them. He founded and edited two influential reviews, Magazín (1971-1972) and Caracol (1974-1977), which provided a forum for scores of new Chicano writers. His newsletter RAYAS (1978-1979) evolved into a weekly public radio show, "Espejos de Aztlán" (1979-present). To thousands of listeners of radio station KUNM (Albuquerque, NM), Cecilio was the gentle and persuasive voice of "Espejos de Aztlán," the longest running cultural program in the station’s history. But the poem was always García-Camarillo's favorite venue for the private voice of dream, nightmare, and transformation.

His long term association as a dramaturgy with "La Compañia Teatro de Alburquerque," has also earned him a place in the history of bilingual community theatre. With the enigmatic stage name of "Xilo," one of his major artistic collaborations was with "Mezcla," a group of artists and activists.

Cecilio García-Camarillo was born near Laredo, Texas in 1943. He graduated from the University of Texas, Austin, and, by the 1970s, established himself as one of the premier Chicano publishers of south Texas. In 1981 he received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.

Source: Biography courtesy of Enrique R. Lamadrid.


12 boxes (11.6 cu. ft.), + 1 oversized folder


The collection contains the papers of poet and publisher Cecilio García-Camarillo (1943-2002). García-Camarillo was one of the founding poets of the Chicano cultural renaissance of the 1970s, an editor and publisher of three Chicano literary magazines -- Caracol, Magazin, and RAYAS, a playwright, an artist, and an activist.


Organized into 8 series:
  1. Biographical Information, Correspondence
  2. Interviews
  3. Written Works (Cecilio García-Camarillo Publications; Publications by Others; Poetry; Essays; Plays; Exhibition Catalogues)
  4. Translations
  5. Reference
  6. Espejos de Aztlán
  7. Audio/Video (other than Espejos de Aztlán)
  8. Photos, Artwork, Calendars

Related Archival Material

Atrisco Oral History Project Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Sam L. Slick poster collection Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Oral History Projects and Video Recordings Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

A collection of publications have been transferred to the University Libraries general collection.

Latin American posters have been transferred to the Sam L. Slick poster collection.

Original vinyl record and video stored in B3.

Processing Information

Arrangement was imposed during processing.

Master audio files for boxes 9A, 9B, 9c, and 10A are held by KUNM. Master audio files for boxes 9D and 10B will be on the University Libraries file server. A second set of cds for box 10a are stored with archival master cds on B3.

Note: Box 9C, Tape 6 was blank, therefore, there is no CD for that recording.

Box 10A has content recorded on 2 separate tracks of each CD, corresponding to sides a and b of original cassettes.
Finding Aid of the Cecilio García Camarillo Papers, 1970-2002
Edited Full Draft
Political Archives Staff, Eric Castillo
© 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided in part by: University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies, Dr. Tobias Durán, Director

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131