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Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems

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ISBN-13: 978-0916727840
ISBN-10: 091672784X
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Editorial Reviews


"Here begins the timeless, universal journey on the roller coaster of love's triumphs and travails with Cervantes as our perceptive and exuberant guide. One would have to be as dead as the skeletons on the cover of the book not to feel moved by Cervantes' energy and eloquence. [...] 100 words, 100 times in the interest of cracking love's inscrutable code. That's about right. Each poem is a new chance, a new escape or risk into uncharted adventures to fall in love, to proclaim a love, to lick our wounds over its inevitable disgraces, or to try again to feel." —Yvette Benavides, San Antonio Express-News

"Cynics beware: this book will stir sensual memories, and make even the most jaded reader smile. . . . [Cervantes'] voice is direct and natural, like the voice of a friend. . . . Ciento is a book to cherish. Give it to your seventeen-year-old student who just fell in love, or to your grandparents, married forty years. Or when in doubt yourself about love, go to these pages. You will find a worthy voice who speaks to you." —Rain Taxi

"In Lorna Dee Cervantes's latest poetry collection, Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems, all the poems are composed of one hundred words, words that, as the Spanish title suggests, should make you feel a burst of emotion. . . . With these poems, we get to know a little bit more about Cervantes's poetic sensibility, her poetic approach, and her understanding of love and desire. This is a book you want to carry under your arm, open to a random page, and find a short gem to remind you that love is still worth writing about—that ultimately, all poems are love poems to the world and to the word." —Octavio Quintanilla, Southwestern American Literature

About the Author

Lorna Dee Cervantes is the publisher of the literary journal Mango and the founder of a small press of the same name. She is a former associate professor of English at the University of Colorado–Boulder and the author of Drive, Emplumada, and From the Cables of Genocide. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Book Award, the Patterson Poetry Prize, and the International Latino Book Award. She lives in San Francisco, California.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wings Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091672784X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0916727840
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,405,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hill VINE VOICE on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
A review of Lorna Dee Cervantes CIENTO:

"Come and nail me. Kiss me. Keep me on your cross."

Love as affection, as virtue, as Eros, as the oneness of mutual regard. It is all here in Ciento, Lorna Dee Cervantes' new offering of 100 word metaphoric units: the loose and taut heartstrings, the chemistry of lust and the basis for commitment, the exalted fusion with the Beloved. A reader of this text dives in like a pearl diver, staying down for minutes, then surfacing with the treasures.

"Let me put my lips to your fire. Surround your words for the final surrender."

Only a poet's thievery-by-fire can do justice to that metaphysical gravity we experience, this wonder we call Love. That slippery terrain where No means Yes, where "lovers alone wear sunlight" (ee cummings). Lorna Dee Cervantes does indeed carry this fire forward for us, for those of us on the pilgrimage to en-lighten-ment and Love that is. Her experimental style is loaded with such tangy zest and humorous lustiness, even as the power of these compact metaphoric veracities reflect the tension of our own individual quests to Love and to be Loved by the potent sentiments we long to have reciprocate.

These fractal compositions that structure this book called Ciento are filled with high-voltage imagery amazingly crammed into these 100 word units. I mean, we stand back entranced as Cervantes dances along on her high wire act of You and Me: "the me I find in you." She dances the dance hypnotic while we gaze on, entranced by her masterful linkage of word and feeling:

"I hope to be many spirits inside you, four on the floor to your get up and go. Or this one: I'll be the valve, you be the intake, and this engine of the heart revs its pleasing octaves. Oil me shining ...
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By A.D. on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
In Ciento, Lorna Dee Cervantes' exploration of love meets her ongoing themes of social justice, cultural identity, language, and the intellectual concerns of women.

The book's title introduces us to the pluralities of love that are expressed throughout this collection. In his review, the poet-writer Luis Alberto Urrea mentions that the "title, said out loud, not only means `100,' but can be read in another way to say: `I feel.'" Urrea is calling attention to Cervantes' pun, which invites us to view the book's title not simply for its given meaning, that is, the number 100, but rather for the author's capacity to feel---the capacity which is here flourishing within a word limit that denotes the formal constraints of aesthetic representation but also the constraints of a life lived--the length of a century, a lifespan, a generation.

Indeed, when spelled with an S, the word "siento" means "to feel," and on this aspect alone, the title deserves further consideration; however, Urrea's primary definition of "ciento," meaning 100, deserves to be expanded and given greater capaciousness. It is actually the word cien, not ciento, which, in Spanish, is used to denote only the number 100. The word "ciento," with an "o," still signifies 100 but it differs from "cien" in that it anticipates a succeeding number. That is, it is used only when it precedes another number greater than 100, as in 101---"ciento y uno." The word "ciento," therefore, more precisely signifies "one hundred" and something more. This small detail should not escape us, as it is this invisible yet implied succession that serves to realize any possibility of love that may be found outside formal constraints and yet born from within them. In this sense, implied succession becomes progression and form becomes content.
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