57 color photos

Cutting the Wire

Photographs and Poetry from the US-Mexico Border
By Ray GonzalezLawrence Welsh
Edited by Lisa McNiel
Photographs by Bruce Berman



Winner of the 2019 Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association
2018 Southwest Books of the Year

Cutting the Wire
, a masterful collaboration between photographer Bruce Berman and poets Ray Gonzalez and Lawrence Welsh, offers us a way to look again, to really look, at the border between Mexico and the United States. Berman, who has photographed and lived in El Paso for decades, is a documentarian who uses his camera to record what’s in front of him rather than for, as he puts it, “mere self-expression.” Berman’s visual investigations of the everyday realities of the border—detention centers, smeltertown cemeteries, kids playing along a river levee, descanso crosses on telephone poles for the disappeared—are exactly the stuff the poetry of Gonzalez and Welsh is made of. The multilayered histories of the border landscape provide an inexhaustible supply of rich and fertile raw material for both Gonzalez and Welsh. But their poetic visions allow them to capture elements of a personal and collective past that historians have often failed to record.

Contributor Bios
Bruce Berman is an associate professor of photojournalism at New Mexico State University and has been a working photojournalist for national and international publications since the late 1960s. For the past thirty-five years his work has concentrated on the borderlands area that encompasses El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico.
Ray Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota. He is also the recipient of the Carr P. Collins / Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN / Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award, and he was recently awarded the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress.
Lawrence Welsh is a professor of English at El Paso Community College. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including the award-winning Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems, 1994–2009 (UNM Press). An award-winning journalist and essayist, his work has appeared in more than two hundred national and regional publications.