The Buried Sea: New and Selected Poems

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Overview

A poem is a living library, a hospitable planet in black space, a bell waiting to wear the music of motion across stilled lands. Writers are the carriers of the voices around us. We are writers and readers in dark times when words are correctly understood as powerful weapons. —From the Introduction

Reading Rane Arroyo’s poems is a little like watching a movie playing at fastforward speed on the TV in your darkened bedroom. The colors pop and snap, the images leap and recede, the colors seem brighter than life—and you can’t stop watching even long enough to blink. It’s an intimate experience. Even at hyperspeed you can make out the images of friends, family, and lovers (especially lovers) burning rubber across the unblinking screen. And even without a sound track, you can hear the music—a symphony of jazz and samba, salsa and street sounds.

In The Buried Sea, Arroyo has selected poems from his first eleven books—five full-length collections of poems and six chapbooks—and has added nineteen new poems. When asked to describe himself, Arroyo writes that "the answer is easy: I’m a Puerto Rican, gay, Midwestern, educated, former working class, liberal, atheistic, humanist, American, male, ex-Mormon, ex-Catholic, pseudo-Buddhist, teacher, reader, global, and popular culture—informed poet.” Readers will find traces of all of these selves in this collection. And Arroyo does make it "easy” to follow the clues. His poems—vivacious, sexy, shiny, sly, pointed, ambitious—are easy to approach and easy to love. But they come with strings attached—like all affairs of the heart—and therein lies so much of their pleasure.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This collection from Arroyo (creative writing, Univ. of Toledo) contains poems from his first 13 books, plus 19 new poems covering 20 years of his poetic output. Proudly Puerto Rican (though born in Chicago) and unabashedly gay, Arroyo re-creates an autobiographical trajectory with poems that are fresh, brief, direct, and nonexperimental. Permeating the retrospective are his major themes of his experience as a Puerto Rican living in the United States ("Columbus's Children") and as a gay man ("Details as Revelations"). He pays homage to the influence of literary figures-Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, and, with an almost idolatrous admiration, Reinaldo Arenas, the noted exiled Cuban writer who killed himself before AIDS did-and of contemporary pop culture figures like Enrique Iglesias, Madonna, and Bruce Springsteen. A good introduction to Arroyo's work that may entice readers to consult the full body of the works included; libraries will appreciate the double whammy of a candidate equally at home in Latino collections as in gay ones.
—Lawrence Olszewski

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816527168
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 11/13/2008
  • Series: Camino del Sol Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Rane Arroyo's previous collections include The Singing Shark, which won the Carl Sandburg Poetry Award. He is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Toledo.

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