As we approach the new century, Latino poetry is in the midst of its most vital and productive period. Poetry by Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans has changed the course of contemporary American writing forever. And it has done this by emphasizing poetry as the sound of everyday lifeshowing readers and other writers that the most effective manner of preserving the traditions of a culture comes from the colorful language of daily experience.
Touching the Fire recognizes the excitement of this movement by focusing on a few of its major poets, presenting a substantial portion of each poet's work. Some of these poetsMartin Espada, Lorna Dee Cervantes, and Victor Hernandez Vruz, for examplehave been writing and publishing a long time. Some are only starting their careers. But they were all chosen because they best represent the strongest elements of modern Latino poetrya confidence of language in its many forms, a gift for shattering emotional honesty, and an ear for the rhythms of a vibrant culture.
Featuring the poetry of:
Sandra M. Castillo Lorna Dee Cervantes Judith Ortiz Cofer Victor Hernandez Cruz Silvia Curbelo Juan Delgado Martin Espada Diana Garcia Richard Garcia Ray Gonzalez Maurice Kilwein Guevara Juan Felipe Herrera Dionisio D. Martinez Valerie Martinez Gloria Vando
Gonzalez, veteran poet and anthologist (Muy Macho: Latino Men Confront Their Manhood, LJ 6/15/96), here submits substantial portions of the work of 15 Latino poets, evenly divided between men and women. The poets stand on their own merits, for neither their ancestral nationalities nor their birth years are normally made reference to. Emphasis is on a return from the outer limits of experimentalism and on replicating the rhythms of American daily life. Typical of the collection's excellence are Juan Felipe Herrera's surrealistic "When He Believed Himself To Be a Young Girl Lifting the Skin of the Water"; Gloria Vando's powerful allegory of a small boy's relationship with his father in "Father's Day"; and Judith Ortiz Cofer's re-creation of her childhood search for the mystery of her Aunt Clotilde's beauty in "The Lesson of the Teeth." Recommended for all collections.Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland