A poet's truth: conversations with Latino/Latina poets

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University of Arizona Press, 2003 - Poetry - 229 pages
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Among students and aficionados of contemporary literature, the work of Latina and Latino poets holds a particular fascination. Through works imbued with fire and passion, these writers have kindled new enthusiasm in their compatriots and admiration in non-Latino readers. This book brings together recent interviews with fifteen Latino/a poets, a cross-section of Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Cuban voices who discuss not only their work but also related issues that help define their place in American literature. Each talks at length about the craft of his or her poetry--both the influences and the process behind it--and takes a stand on social and political issues affecting Latinos across the United States. The interviews feature both established writers published as early as the 1960s and emerging artists, each of whom has enjoyed success in other literary forms also. As Bruce Dick's insightful questions reveal, the key threads linking these writers are their connections to their families and communities and their concern for civil rights--believing like Chicana writer Pat Mora that "the work of the poet is for the people." The interviews also reveal diversity among and within the three communities, from Victor HernAndez Cruz, who traces Latino collective identity to Africa and claims that all Latinos are "swimming in olive oil," to Cuban writer Gustavo Perez Firmat, who considers nationality more important than ethnicity and says that "the term Latino erases [his] nationality." The dialogues also offer new insights on the place of Chicano/a writings in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, on the Puerto Rican/Nuyorican establishment, and on the anti-Castro stand of Cuban-born poets. As thesewriters answer questions about their work, background, ethnic identity, and political ideology, they provide a wealth of biographical, intellectual, and literary material collected here for the first time. "A Poet's Truth" is a provocative and revealing book that not only conveys the fire of these writers' passions but also sheds important light on a whole literary movement. Interviews with:
Miguel AlgarA-n
MartA-n Espada
Sandra MarA-a Esteves
Victor HernAndez Cruz
Carolina Hospital and Carlos Medina
Demetria MartA-nez
Pat Mora
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Ricardo Pau-Llosa
Gustavo PA(c)rez Firmat
Leroy Quintana
Aleida RodrA-guez
Luis RodrA-guez
Benjamin Alire SAenz
Virgil SuArez

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A poet's truth: conversations with Latino/Latina poets

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This collection of interviews with prominent Latino poets (namely, Chicano, Cuban, and Puerto Rican) will both fascinate and frustrate lovers of poetry. Its main purpose is to reveal how 16 Latino ... Read full review


Sandra Maria Esteves

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About the author (2003)

Bruce Allen Dick is Associate Professor of English at Appalachian State University. His other books include Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya and The Critical Response to Ishmael Reed.

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