Where A Nickel Costs A Dime

( 2 )

Overview

A first book of poems by one of the best new voices to emerge from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.Where a Nickel Costs a Dime captures the hip-hop rhythms and in-your-face intensity of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a downtown Manhattan club where the hottest young poets are finding their fame.
Willie Perdomo's poems, in the tradition of Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, and Ntozake Shange, meet at the intersection of the street and the academy.
The world in...

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Overview

A first book of poems by one of the best new voices to emerge from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.Where a Nickel Costs a Dime captures the hip-hop rhythms and in-your-face intensity of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a downtown Manhattan club where the hottest young poets are finding their fame.
Willie Perdomo's poems, in the tradition of Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, and Ntozake Shange, meet at the intersection of the street and the academy.
The world in these piercing and heartbreaking poems is Spanish Harlem, "where night turns to day without sleep," where "Puerto Rico stays on our minds when the fresh breeze of cafe con leche y pan con mantequilla comes through half-opened windows and under our doors," where "babies fall asleep to the bark of a German shepherd," where "Independence Day is celebrated everyday," where "the police come into your house without knocking. They throw us off rooftops and say we slipped. They shoot my father and say he was crazy. They put a bullet in my head and say they found me that way."
Blending images of street life, drugs, and AIDS against hope and determination, Willie Perdomo is a cutting-edge bard who speaks to the soul of his generation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Perdomo, a regular performer at Manhattan's Nuyorican Poets Cafe, is a scruffy organizer of his experience, throwing his poetics together tenement style. In the irresistible, high-spirited "Nigger-Reecan Blues," he insists, "Yo soy Boricua! Yo soy Africano! I ain't/ lyin'. Pero mi pelo is kinky y curly y mi skin no es negro pero it can pass . . ." Drawing on rap, jazz, Langston Hughes and the rhythms of the streets, this collection bristles with congas, timbales, police sirens and wino oracles, "singing a celebration of the island/ that some of us will never see." In poems that are scalding, toxic and dizzying, Perdomo reminds us that there is something wrong when feeling joy suggests mangled sanity: "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I noticed I went to more funerals than parties this summer." (Feb.)
Library Journal
Perdomo (Young Tongues, First Civilizations, 1992) does not write a focused, collected poetry with practiced diction and tidy lines. His raucous craft owes more to rap than Whitman, forging works that sing, dance, and howl at the moon: "the 'hood/ the block/ the Ave./ the corner/ my boys." These are songs of the Harlem barrio, where (according to Langston Hughes) "a nickel costs a dime." Perdomo finds poetry in broken lines and blocked prose, in pieces of dialog and prayer. "Where I'm from, Puerto Rico stays on our minds when the fresh breeze of cafe con leche y pan con mantequilla comes through our half open windows." These sentiments give way to rage at times: "Every time I go downtown la madam blankita de Madison Avenue sees that I' standing next to her and she holds her purse a little tighter." As rough and sharp as the images often are, there is grace and tenderness as well. A good introduction to what's happening on the cutting edge. Recommended for larger collections.Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393313833
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1996
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 602,387
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Willie Perdomo is the author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award and Smoking Lovely, winner of the PEN Beyond Margins Award. His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, BOMB, Mandorla, and African Voices. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a former recipient of the Woolrich Fellowship in Creative Writing at Columbia University, and two-time New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow. He is a member of the VONA/Voices faculty and is currently an English Instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy. Visit his website at www.willieperdomo.com

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Table of Contents

123rd Street Rap 15
Where I'm From 17
Nigger-Reecan Blues 19
This Is for Mamasita 22
bop gone bad 24
Take Out 25
Let Me Ask You Somethin' 26
Sangre en Harlem 28
Unemployed Mami 29
Song for Langston 31
Promises, Promises 32
Brother Lo 33
Revolution 35
Catch-22 36
Last Junkie Poem 37
Nuyorican School of Poetry 41
Prophet Born in Harlem 44
Que Viva Chango 45
Save the Youth 47
Clyde 49
Funeral 50
True Colors 51
Poet in Harlem 52
Postcards of El Barrio 54
Harlem Plays the Best Ball in the World 55
Monkey in the Middle 57
Another Poem for Billie Holiday 59
Dreaming, I Was Only Dreaming 60
The Making of a Harlem Love Poem 63
The New Stuff 64
Hustler's Song 65
Letter to Pedro Aviles 67
Reflections on the Metro-North, Winter 1990 70
Acknowledgments 77
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    Johanna...From Spanish Harlem...If You've Never Been, Then You've Never Been!

    I received this book as a gift from my niece. I must say I was surprised. I had never heard of Willie Perdoma, but I was facinated by his style. His words spoke to my inner thoughts. I carry his book in my bag on most days. I've read and re'read the book numerous times. If you live or ever lived in Spanish Harlem this book should be in your collection.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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