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From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems
     

From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems

by Francisco X. Alarcón
 

On the other side of night, Francisco Alarcón is waiting.

One of Chicano literature's premier poets, Alarcón has brought his luminous images to the page in such acclaimed volumes as Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes and Snake Poems. Now he has assembled the best of his work from fifteen years, along with fourteen new

Overview


On the other side of night, Francisco Alarcón is waiting.

One of Chicano literature's premier poets, Alarcón has brought his luminous images to the page in such acclaimed volumes as Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes and Snake Poems. Now he has assembled the best of his work from fifteen years, along with fourteen new poems, in a book that distills his magical sense of reality into a cup brimming with passion.

Raised in Guadalajara and now living in the San Francisco Bay area, Alarcón sees that " 'Mexican' / is not / a noun / or an / adjective / 'Mexican' / is a life / long / low-paying / job." Participating in a poetic tradition that goes back to the mystic Spanish poets of the sixteenth century, he brings us sonnets infused with romance and tenderness—and shorter poems that are direct and hard-hitting commentaries on American society, as he cries out for "a more godlike god," one "who spends nights / in houses / of ill repute / and gets up late / on Saturdays."

Alarcón invokes both the mysteries of Mesoamerica and the "otherness" of his gay identity. "My skin is dark / as the night / in this country / of noontime," he writes, "but my soul / is even darker / from all the light / I carry inside." In lyrical poems open to wide interpretation, he transcends ethnic concerns to address social, sexual, and historical issues of concern to all Americans. The fourteen new poems in From the Other Side of Night offer startling new commentaries on life and love, sex and AIDS.

Shifting effortlessly between English and Spanish—and even Nahuatl—Alarcón demonstrates the gift of language that has earned him both a wide readership and the admiration of fellow poets. With this book, he invites new readers to meet him where the darkness is palpable and the soul burns bright.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Francisco Alarcón named recipient of the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association

"A vital tradition in Spanish poetry unites politics, eroticism, and surrealism in a way few poets writing in English have attempted, let alone managed. Francisco Alarcón's poems join those of Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Federico Garcia Lorca, and others in this tradition, while bringing his own distinctive background and voice to this vital, engaged, moving volume." —ForeWord

"This big book should cement his appeal for anyone interested in Chicano and West Coast Latino writing and activism." —Publishers Weekly

"His subject matter remains courageously political, seeking risks, not safety in these volatile times when much of American poetry still shies away from social issues. . . . This is a brave collection of poetry that should confirm Alarcón's status as a premier laureate of Chicano letters." —El Paso Times

Publishers Weekly
In this bilingual edition, Chicano poet Alarcon presents a selection of the best of his work from 15 years, plus 14 new poems. Topics range from Mesoamerican mysteries to commentaries on gay identity, sex, and AIDS. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816522309
Publisher:
University of Arizona Press
Publication date:
02/01/2002
Series:
Camino del Sol
Edition description:
BILINGUAL
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Tattoos

poems
fill up
pages

tattoos
puncture
flesh


Raíces

mis raíces
las cargo
siempre
conmigo
enrolladas
me sirven
de almohada


Roots

I carry
my roots
with me
all the time
rolled up
I use them
as my pillow


Dialéctica del amor

para el mundo
no somos nada
pero aquí juntos
—tú y yo—
somos el mundo


Dialectics of Love

to the world
we are nothing
but here together
—you and I—
are the world


Eros

no hay
llave
para tu
puerta

sólo
lengua
para tu
cerradura


Eros

there is
no key
for your
door

only
a tongue
for your
keyhole


Banderas

trapos
imbéciles
empapados
en sangre


Flags

stupid
rags
soaked
in blood


Oración

quiero un dios
de cómplice
que se trasnoche
en tugurios
de mala lama
y los sábados
se levante tarde

un dios
que chifle
pot las calles
y tiemble
ante los labios
de su amor

undios
que haga cola
a la entrada
de los cines
y tome café
con leche

un dios
que escupa
sangre de
tuberculoso
y no tenga ni
para el camión

un dios
que se desmaye


Prayer

I want a god
as my accomplice
who spends nights
in houses
of ill repute
and gets up late
on Saturdays

a god
who whistles
through the streets
and trembles
before the lips
of his lover

a god
who waits in line
at the entrance
of movie houses
and likes to drink
café au lait

a god
who spits
blood from
tuberculosis and
doesn't even have
enough for bus fare

a god
knocked


Excerpted from From the Other Side of Night—Del otro lado de la noche by Francisco X. Alarcón. Copyright © 2002 by Francisco X. Alarcón. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

The Devil's Workshop

By Demetria Martínez

The University of Arizona Press

Copyright © 2002 Demetria Martínez. All rights reserved.
TAILER

Meet the Author


Francisco X. Alarcón is the author of ten volumes of poetry and several books of bilingual poetry for children. He has been a recipient of several literary prizes, including the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and the UC Irvine Chicano Literary Prize. He currently teaches at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Spanish for Native Speakers Program.

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