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Fiction. Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Young Adult. "Returning to the territory covered in An Island Like You and SILENT DANCING, Cofer further heightens her descriptions of barrio life with a pervasive current of sensuality and rebellion in this volume of poems and stories about growing up during the turbulent 1960s. Most of the stories are described in hindsight by narrator Mary Ellen, who is also known as Maria Elenita (however, readers may have trouble keeping track of the various narrators in the early storieswhich are all told through first-person narration but from differing ages and perspectives). Caught between Hispanic and American lifestyles, and eager to break free of traditional Hispanic values, Mary Ellen is strongly attracted to things that are alien to her parents. Readers will likely relate to Mary Ellen's struggle for independence, her idealism and her need for answers, themes that Cofer carries through the entire collection. In "The Meaning of El Amor," for example, the narrator sneaks into a nightclub where her recently deceased father, "the Puerto Rican Romeo," moonlighted to find out why love causes so much suffering. Cofer's lyrical descriptions of how music and the Vietnam War fired Mary Ellen's youthful passions are affecting: "When she was deep into a song, Janis [Joplin] became beautiful. Her voice, hoarse and choked with pain, went right through my skin, and I began to understand the meaning of soul, el duende, in American music." Readers in the suggested age range may miss the most rewarding aspects of Cofer's work, but for mature teenagers, there is wisdom aplenty in this radiant collection. Ages 11-up"Publishers Weekly.
|Publisher:||Arte Publico Press|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Judith Ortiz Cofer was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, in 1952. She was raised on the island and in Paterson, New Jersey, before her family finally settled in Augusta, Georgia. She received her B.A. in English from Augusta College in 1974, and her M.A. in English from Florida Atlantic University, and did graduate work at Oxford University in 1977. Her collections of poetry include: THE YEAR OF OUR REVOLUTION: New and Selected Stories and Poems (1998), winner of the Paterson Book Prize given by the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College; The Latin Deli: Prose & Poetry (1993), winner of the Anisfield Wolf Book Award; Terms of Survival (1989), REACHING FOR THE MAINLAND & SELECTED NEW POEMS (1987), and Latin Women Pray (1980). Cofer is also the author of essays, fiction, and prose, and her work has been published in numerous anthologies. Her young adult book An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio (1996) has received several distinctions, including The American Library Association Reforma Pura Belpre Medal and the Fanfare Best Book of the Year award. Cofer's awards and honors include grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for poetry, the University of Georgia Humanities Center, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Florida Fine Arts Council, and the Janet Rice Memorial Fellowship from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently the Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia, and an associate staff member of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.