ISBN-10: 1566894891
ISBN-13: 9781566894890
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publish Date: 10/10/2017
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.50" H

Beneath the Spanish


Price: $16.95


Praise for Victor Hernández Cruz:

Bilingual since childhood, Mr. Cruz writes poems about his native Puerto Rico and elsewhere which often speak to us with a forked tongue, sometimes in a highly literate Spanglish. . . . He’s a funny, hard-edged poet, declining always into mother wit and pathos. —The New York Times Book Review

A fluent sensualist and rhythmic stylist. —The Washington Post

Like a salsa band leader coaxing and challenging dancers to more and more complex steps, Cruz dares readers with dizzying polyrhythms, polymetric stanzas, backstepping word structures and a sense of improvisation. —Publishers Weekly

Beneath the Spanish tracks the way that languages intersect and inform each other, and how language and music shapes experience. Moving across landscapes from Puerto Rico to Manhattan to Morocco, these poems are one man’s history and a song that begs to be performed.

From Ay Bendito, Que Vaina:

Cuneiform tablet inside,
The maracas pencil orality
of remembered places,
the night stars,
the hammock, yucayeques
like beehives, a river crab
came to my feet to talk
with its mouth legs,
trembling like castanets.

Victor Hernández Cruz is the author of several collections of poetry including, most recently, The Mountain in the Sea and In the Shadow of Al-Andalus. Featured in Bill Moyers’s Language of Life series, Cruz’s collection, Maraca, was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall and Griffin Poetry Prizes. He divides his time between Morocco and his native Puerto Rico.

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"To the bad times
give a happy face,
place a red amapola
in your black dark hair.
Revive the mummies,
the dead,
burst the bodies
out of the coffins
let's all walk to the plaza
this final time"


"Short, punchy lines with telescoped syntax set the ongoing beat... A solid selection for neophytes and Cruz's fans alike." –Library Journal

"From one of the world's most eminent poets, Beneath the Spanish is a trumpeting source to draw from in this unsteady time. This book is a virtual encyclopedia of poetics histories in colonial resistances. Thoroughly steeped in signature inimitable musicality and flourishing image verse, this encompassing, jazz-inspired, paramount collection brings us to our knees and delivers us back into the beauty of life amidst all its human complications and conditions. Into the spirit stains, perfumes, and lingual intensities bridging migrations, languages, and cultures to reel in lucidity and create a balancing nest of home. A socially artistic creation by a seasoned genius, Beneath the Spanish is on time, in time, and Victor Hernández Cruz delivers one of the most gorgeously stunning and remarkable contributions to the canon to date. Go on, lose yourself in this." –Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, author of Streaming

Beneath the Spanish celebrates the evolution and musicality of language by taking you on a journey through the landscapes and cultures that formed the poet and his own bilingual expressions of self: Puerto Rico, California, New York, and Morocco. Bustle

"...exuberant, spontaneous, fast-paced..." American Poets

"...Victor Hernandez Cruz's Beneath the Spanish is a vibrant poetic manifesto designed to unite the scattered indigenous peoples of the world." The Journal

More Reviews


ISBN-10: 1566894891
ISBN-13: 9781566894890
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Publish Date: 10/10/2017
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.50" H
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