Folklore and Southwest

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Chistes: Hispanic Humor of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado

Nasario García

“When I moved to northern New Mexico thirty-three years ago,” writes John Nichols, “I immediately fell in with my neighbors and commenced laughing.” As folklorist Nasario García explains in his introduction to this collection, falling in with the voices of laughter and comic relief is a timeless, vital aspect of Hispanic culture. ¡Chistes! brings together for the first time in English and regional Spanish a medley of orally gathered humorous anecdotes from northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The chistes range in form from practical jokes, pranks, slips-of-the-tongue, hyperbole, solecisms, slapstick, and double entendres. True for most of the villages and towns represented in this collection, Hispanic humor is a function of folks who understand how to deal with difficult times with verve and at times self-deprecation, places with a strong communal identification, where everyone knows everybody's business and tells it with good-natured fun; where nothing is off limits, not even the church; where local politics takes it on the chin and farm animals provide the punch. The original Spanish versions of these tales are particularly flavorful for their colorful vernacular found uniquely in the region covered.


Nasario García has edited and translated numerous collections of folklore, including Más Antes: Hispanic Folklore of the Río Puerco Valley (Museum of New Mexico Press) and Pláticas: Conversations with Hispano Writers of New Mexico (Texas Tech University Press). A former professor of languages at New Mexico Highlands University, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

John Nichols is the author of The Milagro Beanfield War, among many works of fiction.

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

5.5 x 8.5 in. 192 pages