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Maraca: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2000

Overview

Seeds of imagination turn into magical rhythms in this collection spanning thirty-five years.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1949, Victor Hernández Cruz moved to New York at the age of six, but he has retained the memories of hearing the men in his family read novels and poems aloud as they rolled cigars in the steamy Caribbean heat. These tropical and urban vistas have informed a body of work that has dazzled readers since a twenty-year-old Cruz exploded onto the national scene with ...

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Overview

Seeds of imagination turn into magical rhythms in this collection spanning thirty-five years.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1949, Victor Hernández Cruz moved to New York at the age of six, but he has retained the memories of hearing the men in his family read novels and poems aloud as they rolled cigars in the steamy Caribbean heat. These tropical and urban vistas have informed a body of work that has dazzled readers since a twenty-year-old Cruz exploded onto the national scene with Snaps (Random House). Cruz has become an important exponent of the use of "Spanglish" in contemporary literature, and his appearance on the Bill Moyers's Language of Life PBS series has cemented his reputation as one of the significant poets of our time.

Also Available by Victor Hernández Cruz:

Panaramas

PB $12.95, 1-56689-066-7 • CUSA

Red Beans and Rice

PB $12.95, 0-918273-91-9 • CUSA

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"If a psychiatrist saw such fantasy/ him make for airport." A key figure in the Nuyorican school of poetry that came together in the late '60s on New York's Lower East Side, Cruz has continued to develop his hybrid poetics, from books like By Lingual Wholes (1982) and Red Beans (1991) to Panoramas (1997) and recent small-press work. In fact, this collection includes large swaths of previously unpublished poems from four decades worth of work, beginning with poems from the mid-'60s and moving through Papo Got His Gun (1966) and Snaps (1969), two books that brought early acclaim. While tercets like "slow the city up/ watch/ let it all hang out" may rely a little too heavily on the zeitgeist of their era, the poems as a whole evince a wryly matter-of-fact, documentarian approach to urban life that feels utterly contemporary. And while bilingual work that jump-cuts across codes is now commonplace, Cruz's idioms hit highs and lows effortlessly, singularly and with political bite: "Percolating out of edam cheese/ Cura?ao coconut bridge/ Colonialism is always/ Take and get/ Energy colonizes the cream." The newer poems include "Moroccan Children," "Jack Kerouac" ("Americano writer/ in the midst of music") and "Camaron de la Isla," the last with "Moorish vapors out of his pores,/ Arabian carabelas." Now 51, Cruz splits his time between New York and Puerto Rico, continuing to show us how to "take the path back/ To the island of vegetation/ Let us retrogress into the future." Forecast: Cruz is well known for his spoken-word work, which should support sales when he next hits the road. Look for this collection to sell well and garner po-biz commendations, if not large-scale reviews. Copyright 2001Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566891226
  • Publisher: Coffee House Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Cruz is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion poet featured in Bill Moyers' "Language of Life" series whose most recent collection, Maraca, was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall and Griffin Poetry Prizes. Five-years-old when he moved with his family from Puerto Rico to New York, Cruz now divides his time between Morocco, Puerto Rico, and the US.

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