ABOUT HUGO ESTEBAN RODRIGUEZ
(tHE SHORT VERSION)
Hugo Esteban Rodríguez is a Mexican-American writer, poet, essayist and blogger living and working in Houston, Texas. His work has appeared in The Airgonaut, The Acentos Review, Spirit's Tincture, HeART Journal, Picaroon Poetry, and the Texas Poetry Calendar. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net award and he was formerly an assistant editor for Bartleby Snopes. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Brownsville and the MFA program at the University of Texas at El Paso.
DosAguilas is taken from his upbringing on both sides of the Rio Grande, as the eagle is the national bird for both Mexico and the United States. There is no relation to the Dos Aguilas pipeline or the Dos Aguilas brand of olive oil.
About HUGO ESTEBAN rodriguez, dosaguilas, librotraficante simbolo
Hugo Esteban Rodríguez was born and raised in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico and spent the latter part of his childhood in Brownsville, Texas. He considers himself a son of Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley. He resides in Houston with his girlfriend and furchildren and he is currently working a day job at a call center in Houston and he is a former assistant editor for the Bartleby Snopes literary magazine. Before that, he had several stops in a varied career history; including stints as a freelance journalist, paralegal, college prep guide and as a white-collar worker drone.
He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and holds bachelor's of arts degrees in Communication and History through the University of Texas at Brownsville (now the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). He briefly attended the University of Granada and South Texas College of Law-Houston and is currently certified as a healthcare interpreter and as a teacher (History 8-12).
On his free time, he enjoys reading and writing short stories, poetry, and speculative fiction. He also enjoys tabletop role-playing games and working out through playing soccer, basketball or just kickboxing. He is also an avid gamer, and has a fascination for games with great storylines and music like Chrono Trigger, FFX, Mass Effect and Witcher 3.
He really enjoys sports and supports the national soccer teams of both Mexico and the US; las Aguilas del America; the Dallas Cowboys; the UTRGV Vaqueros and the UTEP Miners; the Houston Dynamo; and the team of destiny: The San Antonio Spurs.
ABOUT HIS POETRY, FICTION AND THE INTERSECTION OF THESE THROUGH MENTAL HEALTH.
“With idea, sound, gesture, the duende delights in struggling freely with the creator on the edge of the pit. Angel and Muse flee, with violin and compasses, and the duende wounds, and in trying to heal that wound that never heals, lies the strangeness, the inventiveness of a man’s work” --Federico Garcia Lorca, "Theory and Play of the Duende"
Lorca's duende is what Edward Hirsch describes as something with visible anguish, irrational desire, and demonic enthusiasm. This is also what Benjamin Alire Saenz describes as chasing the dragon, that is the story behind Rodriguez's fiction and poetry.
The duende is present in the South Texas borderlands, where Rodríguez draws the bulk of his inspiration from. Poetry, music, sports, duality, everything seeps into his work. From the corridos his grandfather composed to the metal music that provided the soundtrack for his high school career. From long lines crossing the bridge to the idea of a promised land just a few dozen miles northbound on U.S. 77/83, Rodríguez tackles fiction and poetry with the eye of a journalist and flair of the dramatic.
Rodríguez started writing fiction in 1999 by means of fanfiction, which served as a gateway drug to every other type of writing. He heavily focused on genre fiction at first before the influence of the MFA program at UTEP and his girlfriend (an English major with a strong background in the classics) helped steer him towards discovering other literary interests that led him to now predominantly write short stories and poetry, and it is that medium he uses to discuss mental health.
Lorca, in the above essay, describes that the most impressive effects of the duende “appear in the bullring, since it must struggle on the one hand with death, which can destroy it, and on the other with geometry, measure, the fundamental basis of the festival”. For Rodriguez, who draws his inspiration from the duende, mental illness is a constant struggle. It's a push, pull and twist remedied by the occasional bout of sleep in this mental bullfight. The bull is an angry, bleeding creature eight times the weight of the matador who has to lock in the tercio de muleta, the third of death. The key difference is that in tauromachy, it is rare for the bull to survive. When he does, he receives a pardon and lives out the rest of his days peacefully. In the world of mental illness, it is rare for the matador to ever escape this faena, this dance. If they do, they will always carry nagging injuries and scars, reminders of the war that has been. Rodriguez admits that this is a cynical perspective but one that also carries with it the promise of hope.
He holds a number of authors, lyricists, and poets as influences. A redacted list would include: (in poetry) Mario Benedetti, Jaime Sabines, Mark Strand, Joaquin Sabina, Immortal Technique, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Fher Olvera, Federico Garcia Lorca, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer; Residente, Ruben Blades, Conor Oberst, Tony Kakko, and Jesse Lacey (in fiction) Sandra Cisneros, Benjamin Alire Saenz, Oscar Casares, Dagoberto Gilb, Dan Abnett, Harry Turtledove; Bernard Cornwell; Naomi Novik; Jim Butcher and JK Rowling.
At UTEP, Rodríguez learned under the wing of notable poets, authors, and playwrights like Sasha Pimentel, Tim Z. Hernandez, Daniel Chacon, Jeff Sirkin, Lex Williford, Jose de Pierola and Dennis Bush.