From Publishers Weekly
One of the first Chicana poets to achieve wide U.S. recognition, Cervantes did so with just two books, Emplumada
(1981) and From the Cables of Genocide
(1991); this substantial, versatile follow-up consists (subtitle not withstanding) of five distinct collections, that can be considered as discrete works. All show fire and range, and all draw on Cervantes's life on the streets as a teen and on her left-wing activism as an adult. The first, How Far's the War?
, comprises poems of activism and protest against a global spate of injustices, from Latin American dictatorships to shortages in Eastern Europe: "La plumage de justicia hangs from the broken/ arrows of palabras [words] breaking the media block/ Of Truth and Consequences of Free Trade Agreements." The last, Hard Drive
, collects warmly convincing poems of erotic and parental love, remembered, promised and achieved: "Come,/ and let us eat/ up the hours/ between us." BIRD AVE,
perhaps the strongest, concentrates on Cervantes's youth, recalling "what girls/ did in/ the barrio/ to get/ their 15/ minutes of fame." About 10 poems are abbreviated appropriations of very famous poems by Bishop, Williams and others, with new titles. But this five-in-one volume reestablishes Cervantes as a singular voice. (Jan.)
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"This is a landmark work." —Martin Espada, author, Imagine the Angels of Bread
"This is what it means to be a poet." —Ana Castillo, author, So Far from God