Alma Luz Villanueva


"Written in diary form and framed by the voices of Luna Luz Villalobos as a child and as an adult, Alma Luz Villanueva's Luna's California Poppies spans a period of nearly two decades to tell the compelling story of a woman seeking safety and strength through the power of her own writing.... As a young girl coming of age in the late 1950s, Luna is invested in her androgynous pre-adolescent body for survival. She wears her hair short and lives for her bike, cycling through and out of her San Francisco neighborhood to escape her impoverished home and her negligent mother. Luna writes: 'I HATE BEING POOR WORSE than being a girl.".... The recent death of her grandmother compels Luna to find consolation in a diary through which she talks to la Virgen de Guadalupe. La Virgen becomes Luna's new confidante, thus the entries convey a private conversation between school friends at a sleepover and not necessarily prayer as Luna confides: 'And don't forget every thing I say here is true so I'm hiding this and don't forget- DON'T TELL GOD ANY THING!!!'.... With Luna's California Poppies Villanueva continues her exploration of women surviving the tense-filled nexus where race, class and gender connect. The book is in excellent company beside her award-winning novels The Ultraviolet Sky and Naked Ladies.... For it's epistolary form and bravery of subject matter, this novel invokes Alice Walker's The Color Purple. But Luna's California Poppies earns its own place as a testament to the healing and spiritual powers of nature, friendship and language."
--Rigoberto Gonzalez, El Paso Times, January 2003.

Selected Works

Novel/poetry, The Twins
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"Written with the urgency of dreams and the courage to face whatever life brings, the poems in SOFT CHAOS cast a spell that chants mystery back into our world, revealing the fierce and tender love that has always been here. To open this book is to enter a vision where even the dust is sacred, where life's endless spiral of beauty and wonder dances in your bones, dances against the forces that would tear them to pieces, dances la vida, and survives." Peter Levitt, author of WITHIN WITHIN.
"The poetry of Alma Luz Villanueva, like her prose, is drawn from the gut, her womb, and a vital point in an intelligent woman's mind. She always speaks from the heart. She delivers to the reader the offerings of a whole human being. She sings, she rages, she lets us know that above all, the poet is a mirror to our own inner triumphs and failures." Ana Castillo, author of SO FAR FROM GOD
"This riveting volume full of lingering images and provocative, personal and political moments opens my heart and aligns me with the powerful feminine forces that continue to surge through Ms. Villanueva's writing. Her transformational journey becomes my journey. She speaks from the heart and reaches the heart." Burleigh Muten, author of RETURN OF THE GREAT GODDESS
"What I still most enjoy about Villanueva's poetry, aside from the strength of her images and the way they convey her inner life, is her voice. That voice is confident, direct, unflinching, intimate." Marie-Elise Wheatwind, from The Women's Review of Books, May 1994.
Fiction, short story collection
"LA LLORONA, the weeping woman, walks through the pages of this book as a spirit guide, someone unto whom other's sorrows flow...Villanueva shows the power of the human spirit in this disturbing and beautiful book." Library Journal, March 1, 1994.
"Villanueva's ultraviolet sky is overhead for all of us."
--Kathryn Trueblood, The Before Columbus Foundation Fiction Anthology.
"One of the most inspiring elements of this novel is the wonderful portrayal of strong women."
--Veronica Chambers, Los Angeles Times, 1994.
"Holden Caulfied meets Anne Frank in this compelling coming-of-age novel."
--Library Journal, May 2002