KUNM

The Final Work Of A New Mexico Virtuoso

Dec 14, 2018

Residents of a small Northern New Mexico town have gathered on a snowy December night for the traditional Christmas play, Los Pastores.  Both performers and audience members represent multiple generations of several large, interrelated families, and as the nativity play progress we hear the stories of their lives.  Some Are Born Under A Star is the last work, and only novel, of the late New Mexico writer Jim Sagel.

The bilingual manuscript, just published by the Museum of New Mexico Press, was edited by Michael L. Trujillo, UNM associate professor of American Studies and Chicana/o Studies.  Trujillo says that Sagel moved from Colorado to Northern New Mexico in the 1970s, and he "became a virtuoso in New Mexican Spanish.  He primarily wrote his literary works in Spanish first.  And his stories weren't just coming from his own head.  They were coming from his family and friends, the people he lived among . . . in the Espanola Valley." 

Sagel most likely wrote the manuscript that became Some Are Born Under A Star shortly before his death in 1998.  In this longer version of the interview, Prof. Trujillo describes how he came into possession of both the Spanish and English versions of Sagel's manuscript,  and how he then edited them, and combined them, for publication.