A Love Story Beginning in Spanish

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Judith Ortiz Cofer’s third volume of poetry collects thirty-four poems written over the course of many years. In places as stark as a New Jersey barrio or fabled as the island home of Penelope and Odysseus, the people in these poems sometimes resist, sometimes reconcile, multiple cultures, tongues, and traditions as they navigate over ever-changing landscapes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The poetry reads with the autobiographical clarity of an artist who has understood the development of her character and the birth of her art. This lucid self-knowledge shines from each of the poems in this collection."--Mark Jarman, author of Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry

"Cofer's poems 'make language from pure need.' Here she provides a kind of informal memoir through anecdote, nuanced detail, extended metaphor, and finally meditations on the function of language itself in forming identity. A Love Story Beginning in Spanish is the work of a mature poet, further evidence of her skill as a writer.”--Hilda Raz, author of Divine Honors and Trans

"Judith Ortiz Cofer is a poet whose music pervades my life long after I've finished reading. A Love Story Beginning in Spanish inspires me and heartens me."--Maxine Hong Kingston

"Judith Ortiz Cofer is a rarity among writers, consistently accomplished in both prose and poetry. A Love Story Beginning in Spanish only adds to an already-solid reputation of an artist who can unravel memory or anecdote into an experience that is sensory and intelligent."--El Paso Times

"Together, these poems enact their understanding of language, showing an intense attention to structure, sound, and sense."--Camille-Yvette Welsch, ForeWord

"The mark of a skilled poet, she goes beyond mere approximations to focus on the details of a situation, details that create a sense of environment as well as character. . . . beautifully written poems that carry a persuasive cultural beat."--Karla Parris, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

“You don't have to be multilingual to delight in Cofer's poems. Her lingua franca speaks for the exile in all of us."--Candice Dyer, Atlanta Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820327426
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 80

Meet the Author

Judith Ortiz Cofer is The Regents' and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia.
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Table of Contents

Beans : an apologia for not loving to cook 3
Before the storm 5
Lessons of the past 7
A theory of chaos : October 1962 9
Dominoes : a meditation on the game 11
From A sailor's wife's journal 13
Siempre 19
The poet's work 21
Here is a picture of me 22
That old tune 23
First job : the Southern Sweets Sandwich Shop and Bakery 25
Notes for my daughter studying math on the morning of a new year 28
Where you need to go 30
Rice : an ars poetica 35
The superstition poems
The gift of a knife 37
The pleasures of fear 38
The lesson of the tongue 40
La Fulana 42
Black silk shirt 43
The arms of a good woman 44
Old women in their rooms 45
The cruel season 46
Alms outside the package store, Peachtree Street 48
I give you the hibiscus 49
Hispanic Barbie with accessories 50
Bed-making in a foreign country 52
Found poem : charm for the love of a woman 53
Saint, hair, water 54
The art of scrying : a poem for my birthday 55
The calculus of freedom 56
Seizing the day 57
To understand El Azul 58
The names of the dead : an essay on the phrase 59
Gifts 61
El amor : a story beginning in Spanish 67
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