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The poetic proverbs known to nuevomexicanos as dichos are particular to their places of origin. In these reflections on the dichos of the Chimayo Valley in northern New Mexico native son Don J. Usner has written a memoir that is also a valuable source of information on the rich language and culture of the region. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs that Usner, who is also known for his photographic work, took of the people and places that he writes about, this book is a one-of-a-kind introduction to the real New Mexico.

Usner has known Chimayo since he was a boy visiting his grandmother and the other village elders, who taught him genealogies going back to family origins in Spain. The Spanish he learned there was embedded in dichos and cuentos. This book is the result of Usner's research into these memorable sayings, and it preserves a language and a culture on the verge on dissolution. It is a gateway into a uniquely New Mexican way of life.
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About the Author

Don J. Usner's most recent book, Valles Caldera: A Vision for New Mexico's National Preserve, coauthored with William deBuys, also includes his remarkable photographs. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Reviews

This book is a marvelous recovery project. In flowing and sometimes wistful prose, Usner records the customs, history, and oral expressions of the people of Chimayo. The author s journey back to his village roots, his patient attention to detail, and his gift for storytelling provide compelling reading. In this collection of dichos framed by autobiographical vignettes, we hear the voices of Usner s family and ancestors. We feel their presence. They continue to reside in the spaces and stories of the community. Chasing Dichos through Chimayo is a testament to the wisdom of generations. But it is equally a reminder of a vibrant and enduring linguistic heritage. John M. Nieto-Phillips, author of The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s 1930s"

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