City of a Hundred Fires

City of a Hundred Fires

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by Richard Blanco
     
 

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"Richard 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. . . .…  See more details below

Overview

"Richard 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 Journal "As one of the newer voices in Cuban-American poetry, Blanco write about the reality of an uprooted culture and how the poet binds the farthest regions of the world together through language. . . . This book describes the price of exile and extends beyond the shores of America and the imagined shores of home." --Bloomsbury Review "Unlike most contemporary minority poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, introduces readers to the fullness and richness of ethnic life, and not only the frustration and isolation so often associated with it. Richard Blanco exquisitely portrays the triumphs and defeats of a land and a people that have just barely survived revolution and time, and, without sentiment or cliche, affirms the ability within us all to achieve wholeness." --Indiana Review "Blanco is a fine young poet, and this poetry, the bread and wine of our language of exile, is pure delight. 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 Suarez Richard Blanco was, as he says, "made in Cuba, asssembled in Madrid, and imported to the United States," meaning he was conceived in Cuba, born in Madrid, and arrived in the United States as an infant able to claim citizenship in three different countries. His work has appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including the Nation, Michigan Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Indiana Review. Blanco is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Florida International University and also works as a civil engineer.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It's easy to see why this debut won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Born in Madrid of Cuban parents and raised in the United States, Blanco captures the tensions of moving between cultures in rhythmic, evocative poems. Observed LJ's reviewer, "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" (LJ 9/1/98).
From the Publisher

“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 Journal

“Blanco 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 Suarez

“Richard 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 Wakefield

City 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 McGrath

“The 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

“As one of the  newer voices in Cuban-American poetry, Blanco writes about the reality of an uprooted culture and how the poet binds the farthest regions of the world together through language. This book describes the price of exile and extends beyond the shores of America and the imagined shores of home.”

The Bloombury Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822978893
Publisher:
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date:
10/15/1998
Series:
Pitt Poetry Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
88
Sales rank:
487,015
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Richard Blanco was selected as the 2013 inaugural poet by President Barack Obama. He is the author of two other poetry collections: Directions to The Beach of the Dead, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; and Looking for The Gulf Motel. Exploring themes of Latino identity and place, Blanco's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2000 and Best American Prose Poems and have been featured on NPR. He is a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, and has taught at Georgetown and American universities. A builder of cities and poems, Blanco is also a professional civil engineer.

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City of a Hundred Fires 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
McSusan More than 1 year ago
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.