Rolando Hinojosa-Smith

American writer

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith (born 1929) is an American novelist, essayist, poet and the Ellen Clayton Garwood professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith


  • I write, in the main, about the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. That I include the Mexican side is natural and inevitable; that I don’t overload it, however, is because I want to present an American literature that was (historically) founded by the neighboring country as seen by its linguistic contribution. To have ignored Mexico would have been a blunder and to have larded it heavier, my work would not have been an American literature, it would have been something else; as to what, I don’t know, but Mexico, in some parts and in some ways, had to be included…
  • …Borders, as everyone should know, are not geographical locations alone, they are made by humans, and some suffer while others live off their fellow men and women. The way some characters speak and explain themselves also reveals what social borders the characters have forged for themselves or how they have suffered because of borders, be they linguistic, cultural, social, racial, etc.
  • … People say to do research; my research is reading and talking and listening to people. I've always found that to be very instructive for me. If it convinces the reader—and you were just very kind with all the things you just said; goodness, it was so affirmative! But that's what I want to do, convince the reader that the writer knows what he is talking about or presenting or showing, whether it's food or dress or motive, expression, just make it as realistic as possible. Not real but realistic.
  • Whenever I’m to translate from Spanish to English, I always stop to think of the what but, just as importantly, of the how I’m going to translate what is said by the characters or what is in the narration. If I used an adage, an axiom, a proverb, a maxim, etc., there are always equivalents but as said previously, one mustn’t translate literally, word for word, because that doesn’t work. One has to analyze what is in the original to make the point with an equivalent adage or axiom; if there’s none, there must be something close to the original, and I’ll go with that. What one looks for is meaning….

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