After Aztlan: Latino Poets of the Nineties

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Aside from a few recognizable names--such as Jimmy Santiago Baca, Lorna Dee Cervantes and Victor Hernandez Cruz--the majority of these 34 poets are introduced to a large audience for the first time in these impressive pages. Gonzales ( Twilights and Chants ) discusses the poets' emphasis on family, but also notable is how family expands to include migrant workers, brothers and sisters killed in the political coups of South America and, closer to home, the neighborhood. These are not sentimental observations, but harsh realities; as Lucha Corpi points out: ``we cannot digest our bread / in someone else's stomach.'' Many pieces also contain a sadistic humor, as in Martin Espada's poem in which ``now the Roosevelt school / is pronounced Hernandez '' and the statue of Roosevelt ``is surrounded / by all the faces / he ever shoved in eugenic spite . . .'' The 16 women included cover the full range of feminine possibilities, from memories of abusive fathers to Alicia Gaspar de Alba's powerful evocation of Mother Earth in terms of lesbian love. The collection's weakest poems seem the most crafted, where the poets struggle to use imagery unfamiliar on barrio streets, where the vision becomes fanciful at the expense of political urgency. (Aug.)
Library Journal
This collection includes the work of 35 contemporary Latino poets who write in English. As with too many contemporary anthologies, inclusiveness rather than quality seems to have been the cardinal principle of selection. Thus, one rhapsody gushes that ``no dear or raccoon is sniffing/ at our Birkenstocks'' and exclaims, ``Oh life, Oh Mother Planet, you are not the enemy!'' while another commits lines in which the sun is seen as ``bringing the light/ that brailles another million new megabytes/ on the computer disc of global massacres.'' This mixed bag does hold compensatory riches, however, like ``The Campesino's Lament'' by Judith Ortiz Cofer: ``In the wind that may travel/ as far as you have gone, I send this message: out here/ in a place that you will not forget, a simple man/ has been moved to curse the rising sun, and to question/ God's unfinished work.'' Given the growing interest in Latino poetry and the scarcity of such anthologies, most libraries should consider.-- Frank J. Lepkowski, Oakland Univ., Rochester, Mich.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879239312
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 258

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