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Elizabeth Alexander Grand Central Publishing, 2015 224 pp; ISBN-13: 978-1455599875 FOUR DAYS AFTER HIS 50TH BIRTHDAY PARTY, Elizabeth Alexander’s husband, Ficre Ghebreyesus, dropped dead of a heart attack while exercising on a home treadmill. His death came as a total shock; “eminently strong of body and spirit,” he was “slim and energetic and . . […]
Chigozie Obioma Little, Brown and Company, 2015 304 pp; ISBN-13: 978-0316338370 ONE OF THE MOST REMARKABLE LITERARY DEVELOPMENTS of the past decade has been the more or less simultaneous eruption onto the world stage, after a long fallow period, of nearly a dozen popular new novelists from Africa. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, NoViolet Bulawayo, Teju Cole, […]
Gregory Pardlo Four Way (Stahlecker Selections), 2014 84 pp; ISBN-13: 978-1935536505 IN GREGORY PARDLO’S LATEST BOOK, Digest, he manages an incredible balancing act. His poems are narrative and personal; they incorporate domestic themes; they take on the father; and they manage to weave in classical references without placing his work so high on the ivory […]
Mary Kay Vaughan Duke University Press Books, 2014 pp. 304; ISBN-13: 978-0822357810 TEN YEARS AGO, historian Mary Kay Vaughan set out to research the learning experiences of youth who became involved in the 1960s student demonstrations in Mexico City. These were the same demonstrations that culminated in the infamous 1968 Tlateleloc Massacre. Then she met […]
Nelson A Denis Nation Books, 2015 400 pp; ISBN-13: 978-1568585017 April 21 MARKS THE 50th anniversary of the death of Pedro Albizu Campos. Most Americans likely haven’t heard of Albizu Campos or his plan to challenge the United States’ control of Puerto Rico. His supporters remember him as an organizer, an intellectual, and a revolutionary. […]
Ted Kooser Copper Canyon Press, 2014 96 pp; ISBN-13: 978-1556594694 ONE OF THE POEMS THAT STAYS WITH ME the most from Splitting an Order, Ted Kooser’s first new collection in ten years, is “Those Summer Evenings,” his take on Robert Hayden’s classic and much-anthologized “Those Winter Sundays.” In his characteristically laconic but nonetheless musical voice, […]
A Vintage Contemporaries Original, June 2011 www.vintagebooks.com Jesse Ball $15.00; 198 pp.; ISBN 978-0-307-73985-8 I’D JUST CONSUMED Murakami’s 1Q84 – originally a three-volume publication in its native Japanese – as though it were one. What was presumably a then-necessary penchant for recapping became, to me, in English translation, a sleepy, no-poetry miasma of redundancy. Was […]
IN RECENT YEARS, ANTHOLOGIES have become the bedrock of the literary industry. They are used as teaching tools and as historical touchstones. But as we peruse these comprehensive anthologies, one cannot help but become aware of the highly subjective forces standing behind the contributions of individual scholars, and editors that each bring to the table their own point of view, including the collective will of an editorial board and publisher. Thus, a comprehensive anthology of a specific genre of literature is always more than the sum of its literary works and, therefore, always more difficult to calculate than anyone might imagine.
SINCE THE 1960s the number of Latina writers has grown considerably, adding a new spice to the U.S. literary panorama and to feminine/feminist literature. Their work has been an important contribution to other previous works by third world women and other ethnic writers in the United States.
FOR THE LAST DECADES, a narrative of Latino identity in the U.S. went something like this: Migration from Latin nations created the conditions for enclaves of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, South Americans (Colombians and Ecuadorians) and Central Americans (Nicaraguans and Salvadorians), in different regions of the U.S. Their mere presence and increased numbers pressed the need for a supra-national Latin@ identity.