Red Beans

Victor Hernandez Cruz, Author Coffee House Press $11.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-918273-91-8
The ``red beans'' of this collection of poems and prose are a pun on ``red be-ings''--characters who inhabit Hernandez Cruz's ( Snaps ) native Puerto Rico and hail from totally different cultures and ages. In the poet's inclusive imagination, Puerto Rican history connects with all history, so mythic figures live next door to Jibaro mountain folk. In the poem ``Mithra'' the appearance of the Persian god of light ``upon the beaches / Of Cabo Rojo'' transforms a multitude of bathers into the words of Chilam Balam--the Jaguar priest or scholar-sage of ancient Yucatec Indians. In his short essay on low riders--Latino versions of hot rods--Hernandez Cruz sees in customization a style of ``Gothic mixed with Toltecas.'' Although he writes in English, Hernandez Cruz spices his language with Spanish. ``National languages melt, sail into each other,'' he suggests in a provocative essay on Hispanic writing in the U.S., and through Latino presence in North America ``the syntax of English is being changed.'' Certainly this is true in his own work. The result is the successful expansion of a perspective born in the Caribbean into a world view of striking vitality and importance. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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