The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry

Overview

Reviewing her novel, The Line of the Sun, the New York Times Book Review hailed Judith Ortiz Cofer as "a writer of authentic gifts, with a genuine and important story to tell." Those gifts are on abundant display in The Latin Deli, an evocative 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. Following the directive of Emily Dickinson to "tell all the Truth but tell it slant," Cofer ...

See more details below
Hardcover (New Edition)
$24.58
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$26.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (6) from $20.21   
  • New (4) from $24.26   
  • Used (2) from $20.21   
The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$13.95 List Price

Overview

Reviewing her novel, The Line of the Sun, the New York Times Book Review hailed Judith Ortiz Cofer as "a writer of authentic gifts, with a genuine and important story to tell." Those gifts are on abundant display in The Latin Deli, an evocative 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. Following the directive of Emily Dickinson to "tell all the Truth but tell it slant," Cofer approaches her material from a variety of angles.

An acute yearning for a distant homeland is the poignant theme of the title poem, which opens the collection. Cofer's lines introduce us "to a woman of no-age" presiding over a small store whose wares—Bustelo coffee, jamon y queso, "green plantains hanging in stalks like votive offerings"—must satisfy, however imperfectly, the needs and hungers of those who have left the islands for the urban Northeast. Similarly affecting is the short story "Nada," in which a mother's grief over a son killed in Vietnam gradually consumes her. Refusing the medals and flag proferred by the government ("Tell the Mr. President of the United States what I say: No, gracias."), as well as the consolations of her neighbors in El Building, the woman begins to give away all her possessions The narrator, upon hearing the woman say "nada," reflects, "I tell you, that word is like a drain that sucks everything down."

As rooted as they are in a particular immigrant experience, Cofer's writings are also rich in universal themes, especially those involving the pains, confusions, and wonders of growing up. While set in the barrio, the essays "American History," "Not for Sale," and "The Paterson Public Library" deal with concerns that could be those of any sensitive young woman coming of age in America: romantic attachments, relations with parents and peers, the search for knowledge. And in poems such as "The Life of an Echo" and "The Purpose of Nuns," Cofer offers eloquent ruminations on the mystery of desire and the conflict between the flesh and the spirit.

Cofer's ambitions as a writer are perhaps stated most explicitly in the essay "The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria." Recalling one of her early poems, she notes how its message is still her mission: to transcend the limitations of language, to connect "through the human-to-human channel of art."

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

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

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)
Whitney Scott
Ortiz Cofer's collection of her stories, essays, and poems is a delicious smorgasbord of the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds recalled from a cross-cultural girlhood. Whether delineating the yearnings for an island homeland or the frustrations of a first-generation immigrant's struggles to grow up in "el building" in a New Jersey barrio, Ortiz Cofer's work is rich in evocative detail and universal concerns. On the whole, it constitutes a coming-of-age-in-America saga focused on a young Judith baffled by anti-Hispanic prejudice, by Puerto Rican and black hostilities, by the Roman Catholic conflict between flesh and spirit, and by the challenge of an adolescence spent in "cultural compromise." Part of that coming-of-age, Ortiz Cofer shows us, was the quickening of the pulse when entering a library, for books "contained most of the information I needed to survive in two languages and two worlds....Reading books empowered me."
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.”
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.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820336213
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Ortiz Cofer is the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. She is the author of many books including a novel The Line of the Sun (Georgia), a young adult novel The Meaning of Consuelo, and a collection of poetry A Love Story Beginning in Spanish (Georgia).

Read More Show Less

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
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)