A Poet?s Truth: Conversations with Latino/Latina Poets

Overview

Among students and aficionados of contemporary literature, the work of Latina and Latino poets holds a particular fascination. Through works imbued with fire and passion, these writers have kindled new enthusiasm in their compatriots and admiration in non-Latino readers. This book brings together recent interviews with fifteen Latino/a poets, a cross-section of Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban voices who discuss not only their work but also related issues that help define their place in American literature. Each ...

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Overview

Among students and aficionados of contemporary literature, the work of Latina and Latino poets holds a particular fascination. Through works imbued with fire and passion, these writers have kindled new enthusiasm in their compatriots and admiration in non-Latino readers. This book brings together recent interviews with fifteen Latino/a poets, a cross-section of Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban voices who discuss not only their work but also related issues that help define their place in American literature. Each talks at length about the craft of his or her poetry—both the influences and the process behind it—and takes a stand on social and political issues affecting Latinos across the United States. The interviews feature both established writers published as early as the 1960s and emerging artists, each of whom has enjoyed success in other literary forms also. As Bruce Dick's insightful questions reveal, the key threads linking these writers are their connections to their families and communities and their concern for civil rights—believing like Chicana writer Pat Mora that "the work of the poet is for the people." The interviews also reveal diversity among and within the three communities, from Victor Hernández Cruz, who traces Latino collective identity to Africa and claims that all Latinos are "swimming in olive oil," to Cuban writer Gustavo Perez Firmat, who considers nationality more important than ethnicity and says that "the term Latino erases [his] nationality." The dialogues also offer new insights on the place of Chicano/a writings in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, on the Puerto Rican/Nuyorican establishment, and on the anti-Castro stand of Cuban-born poets. As these writers answer questions about their work, background, ethnic identity, and political ideology, they provide a wealth of biographical, intellectual, and literary material collected here for the first time. A Poet's Truth is a provocative and revealing book that not only conveys the fire of these writers' passions but also sheds important light on a whole literary movement. Interviews with:
Miguel Algarín Martín Espada Sandra María Esteves Victor Hernández Cruz Carolina Hospital and Carlos Medina Demetria Martínez Pat Mora Judith Ortiz Cofer Ricardo Pau-Llosa Gustavo Pérez Firmat Leroy Quintana Aleida Rodríguez Luis Rodríguez Benjamin Alire Sáenz Virgil Suárez

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This collection of interviews with prominent Latino poets (namely, Chicano, Cuban, and Puerto Rican) will both fascinate and frustrate lovers of poetry. Its main purpose is to reveal how 16 Latino poets (among them, Miguel Algarin, Carlos Medina, Virgil Su rez, and Judith Ortiz Cofer) found their niche in American literature and to detail what political and social issues helped shape their personal and creative lives. The frustration arises from the lack of examples of poetry (very few are included). Instead, readers are given insights into the poetry only via interviews. In addition, author-interviewer Dick (English, Appalacian State Univ.) asks certain poets to comment on given lines, thus instigating the venal sin of asking them to explain, in ordinary language, the "meaning" of their verse. Dick selected these poets as spokespersons for their rich social and cultural heritage-and they truly are some of the best Latino poets currently writing. Still, it is unfortunate that unless readers are poets themselves or students or teachers of poetry or Latino studies, they have probably never heard of many of these poets. What a shame, then, that some samples could not have been included. In this format, the book is not recommend for public libraries, but in academic libraries it may serve as a useful backup, provided their collections also contain the poetry of those interviewed.-Nedra Crowe-Evers, Sacramento P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816522750
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Pages: 229
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Allen Dick is Associate Professor of English at Appalachian State University. His other books include Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya and The Critical Response to Ishmael Reed.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 3
Miguel Algarin 13
Martin Espada 25
Sandra Maria Esteves 41
Victor Hernandez Cruz 55
Carolina Hospital and Carlos Medina 67
Demetria Martinez 81
Pat Mora 93
Judith Ortiz Cofer 107
Ricardo Pau-Llosa 125
Gustavo Perez Firmat 143
Leroy Quintana 155
Aleida Rodriguez 169
Luis Rodriguez 185
Benjamin Alire Saenz 203
Virgil Suarez 217
Source Acknowledgments 231
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