City of a Hundred Firesby Richard Blanco
Pub. Date: 10/28/1998
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Winner of the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett PrizeCity of a Hundred Fires presents us with a journey through the cultural coming of age experiences of the hyphenated Cuban-American. This distinct group, known as the Ñ Generation (as coined by Bill Teck), are the bilingual children of Cuban exiles nourished by two cultural currents--the fragmented traditions and transferred nostalgia of their parents' Caribbean homeland and the very real and present America where they grew up and live. In a keenly impressive debut, Blanco, a Cuban raised in the United States, records his threefold burdens: learning and adapting to American culture, translating for family and friends, and maintaining his own roots. . . . Blanco is already a mature, seasoned writer, and his powers of description and determination to get every nuance correct are evident from the first poem. . . . Absolutely essential for all libraries."--Library JournalBlanco is a fine young poet, and this poetry, the bread and wine of our language of exile, is pure delight, written with Lorca's El Duende's eyes and heart. May he continue to produce such a heavenly mix of rhythm and image--these poems are more than gems, they are the truth not only about the Cuban-American experience, but of our collective experience in the United States, a beautiful land of gypsies." --Virgil SuarezRichard Blanco's City of a Hundred Fires lights up the American literary scene with a fresh new vigor and voice that takes its place in the front rank of poetry. This wonderful book will also draw readers from beyond the world of poetry, entrancing a wide audience with the music of its language, its beautiful evocation of love and loss and hope."--Dan WakefieldCity of a Hundred Fires is one of the most exciting first books of the decade--vibrant and diverse, infused with energy and formal dexterity, equally at ease in Spanish and English. As if that weren't enough, it feels like an important cultural document as well--a bicultural document, testimony to the dualities of identity central not only to Cuban but to all hyphenated Americans"--exile and citizen, emigrant and immigrant, elegist and celebrant. Richard Blanco is a poet of remarkable talents--in any language."--Campbell McGrathIn this remarkable first book Richard Blanco speaks in a wise, compassionate voice that finds beauty in loss and takes bright lessons from despair. These are poems that hurt and heal." --Gustavo Pèrez FirmatWhat a delicia these poems are, sad, tender, and filled with longing. Like an old photograph, a saint's statue worn away by the devout, a bolero on the radio on a night full of rain. Me emocionan. There is no other way to say it. They emotion me."--Sandra CisnerosThe poet's nostalgia for Cuba, a life seen through the lens of his parents' exile, here meets head on his own coming of age in a culturally and racially diverse Miami. Full of vivid and specific detail, dotted with Spanish phrases, these poems arrest the reader much as the Ancient Mariner did, transfixing the listener."--Maxine Kumin
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
These poems remind me of the roots I have left behind, while simultaneously, enabling me to understand the implications of transplantation. At once inspirational and utterly raw, Blanco uses the collective memories of all exiles to reach our hearts, where the true 'home' lies.
Richard Blanco, poet extraordinaire and Civil Engineer all in one. He dedicates this book to memories of his father. Based on his Cuban-American upbringing, he writes of his memories and experiences. He is able to laugh at what's funny about America from his perspective but through it all you feel a man that loves America. My favorite poems in this book were Crayons for Elena and Found Letters of 1965 but you will enjoy many others as well.