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Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry

Overview

Through her beautifully lyrical writing, Judith Ortiz Cofer tells us of the women's lives that entangled with hers in El Building in Paterson, New Jersey.
A community transplanted from what they now view as an island paradise, these Puerto Rican families yearn for the colors and tastes of their former home. As they carve out lives as Americans, their days are filled with drama, success, and sometimes tragedy. A widow becomes crazy after her son is killed in Vietnam, her ...

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Overview

Through her beautifully lyrical writing, Judith Ortiz Cofer tells us of the women's lives that entangled with hers in El Building in Paterson, New Jersey.
A community transplanted from what they now view as an island paradise, these Puerto Rican families yearn for the colors and tastes of their former home. As they carve out lives as Americans, their days are filled with drama, success, and sometimes tragedy. A widow becomes crazy after her son is killed in Vietnam, her remaining word "nada." Another woman carries on after the death of her husband, keeping their store, filled with plantain, Bustello coffee, jamon y queso, open as a refuge for her neighbors. And there are Cofer's stories of growing up with a dictatorial and straying father, a caring mother, and a love for language that will lead to a career as a teacher and writer.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“A delicious smorgasbord of the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds recalled from a cross cultural girlhood.”
In These Times - Ilan Stavans
“[Judith Ortiz Cofer] may well be the most important Hispanic writer in English today, the one who will happily leave behind ethnic writing to insert herself and her successors in a truly universal literature.”
Larry Brown
“This powerful collection of stories, essays, and poems shows a remarkable range, and, like a great singer, Judith Ortiz Cofer knows how to hit all the notes.”
Ilan Stavans - In These Times
“[Judith Ortiz Cofer] may well be the most important Hispanic writer in English today, the one who will happily leave behind ethnic writing to insert herself and her successors in a truly universal literature.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for its celebration of diversity, Cofer's collection of essays, fiction and poetry depicts the Puerto Rican immigrant experience. (May)
Library Journal
Poet and novelist Ortiz Cofer offers her readers an affecting view of Puerto Rican New York in this autobiographical assortment of essays and poems. Her stories celebrate, mourn, and honor Latinas, collectively and individually, and also consider the influential men in her own life: the author's beloved, unknowable, philandering father; the first boy she loved; her heartbreakingly deteriorating grandfather. The alternating sections of evocative prose and narrative poetry first construct a vision of life in the busy apartments of El Building and the shops of its neighborhood, then comment directly on self, heritage, culture clash, racism, and sexism. A strong, moving set of daughter-poems finishes this slim but substantial volume. Recommended for ethnic, womens', memoir, and larger general collections.
—Janet Ingraham, Worthington P.L., Ohio
Booknews
A collection of poetry, personal essays, and short fiction in which the dominant subject--the lives of Puerto Ricans in a New Jersey barrio--is drawn from the author's own childhood. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Cofer may well be the most important Hispanic writer in English today, the one who will happily leave behind ethnic writing to insert herself and her successors in a truly universal literature."—Ilan Stavans, In These Times

"Graceful, generous, and important."—Mary Oliver

"Cofer is a superb storyteller. There is still much to be learned about women’s lives and about multiculturalism, and Cofer offers particular insights in both these areas."—Kathleen Aguero

"A flawless collection."—Seattle Weekly

"A compassionate, delicate rendering of Puerto Rican life in America–told in poetry and fifteen short stories. . . . With the poetry accenting and enhancing themes revealed in the prose: a remarkably cohesive, moving collection."—Kirkus Reviews

"A delicious smorgasbord of the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds recalled from a cross cultural girlhood."—Booklist

"Cofer continues her strongly dramatic and beautifully lyric unfolding of the Puerto Rican immigrant. Pungent, evocative, and warmly sympathetic, The Latin Deli is a continuous delight."—Fred Chappell

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313130
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1995
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 779,495
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Ortiz Cofer is a professor of English at the University of Georgia and the author of The Line of the Sun and Silent Dancing.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica 3
American History 7
Not for Sale 16
Twist and Shout 22
By Love Betrayed 24
From "Some Spanish Verbs": Orar: To Pray 28
From "Some Spanish Verbs": Dividir: To Divide 29
From "Some Spanish Verbs": Respirar: To Breathe 31
From "Some Spanish Verbs": Volar: To Fly 32
An Early Mystery 33
Fever 35
The Lesson of the Sugarcane 36
A Legion of Dark Angels 37
The Changeling 38
Absolution in the New Year 39
From the Book of Dreams in Spanish 41
The Witch's Husband 42
Nada 50
Letter from a Caribbean Island 61
Guard Duty 63
The Purpose of Nuns 65
The Game 67
The Lesson of the Teeth 69
They Never Grew Old 70
Nothing Wasted 72
Women Who Love Angels 74
To Grandfather, Now Forgetting 75
My Grandfather's Hat 78
Blood 79
The Life of an Echo 80
Juana: An Old Story 81
The Campesino's Lament 82
Las Magdalenas 83
Olga 84
Dear Joaquin 85
Lydia 87
Vida 88
Paciencia 90
Old Women 91
Corazon's Cafe 93
How to Get a Baby 119
Advanced Biology 120
The Paterson Public Library 130
The Story of My Body 135
The Chameleon 147
The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria 148
Saint Rose of Lima 155
Counting 157
Unspoken 158
Who Will Not Be Vanquished? 159
Hostages to Fortune 162
To a Daughter I Cannot Console 163
Anniversary 164
5:00 A.M.: Writing as Ritual 166
The Medium's Burden 169
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2001

    Taste all of the delights in The Latin Deli Guaranteed, guilt free pleasure

    Judith Ortiz Cofer transends ethnic boundaries and gets right to the HEART of what it is to be a woman and all of the roles we play throughout our lives. I recommend this to all mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, lovers, and partners of any of the above. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you won't be bored. So order this book ! When it comes sit down with a cup of Chai or whatever your pleasure and ENJOY !

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