Cool Salsa

Lori Carlson, Editor, Oscar Hijuelos, Illustrator
Lori Carlson, Editor, Oscar Hijuelos, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $16.95 (124p) ISBN 978-0-8050-3135-5
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
As hot as jalapenos and as cool as jazz, this collection serves up ``ingles con chile'' and Spanish that ``you feel in the blood of your soul.'' Lyrical, traditional poems share space with street-smart free verse, and works by the likes of Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto are juxtaposed with entries from lesser-knowns. Illustrating the ``beat and pulse'' of generations of U.S. writers of Latin American heritage, the poems are presented both in the original and in translation; poems making use of both languages are easily accessible to English-only readers by virtue of an appended glossary of Spanish terms. In his introduction, Hijuelos ( The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love ) focuses on the ``unrelenting, unending sense of second classness'' that his parents experienced as Cuban emigrants and explains how this ``sense'' affected his uses of English and Spanish. The political agenda is not hidden, but the potency of the volume lies in Carlson's eclectic selection of voices--her volume approximates what one poet here calls ``a Mixtec chant that touches la tierra and the heavens.'' Ages 12-up. (July)
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