Beneath the Spanish
Poetry by Victor Hernández Cruz
October 10, 2017 • 6 x 9 • 185 pages • 978-1-56689-489-0
Puerto Rico, California, New York, Morocco—these are songs of a poet’s genesis, and the places that formed him.
Beneath the Spanish is history, the clash and melt of cultures, the conquest of the New World, colonialism, bilingualism, fragmentation, and cubism. Poems built of tobacco, sugar, café; Spanish, Arabic, English; José Martí, Federico García Lorca, and William Carlos Williams. A history and exploration of Hernández Cruz’s Caribbean roots as well as a documentation of and counterpoint to the origin of the European cultural intrusion into the New World, Beneath the Spanish deconstructs and reconstructs a wounded history, offering a prayer for communication between distances, oceans, music, dance, and mountains, revealing the past in the present moment we live.
About the Author
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 The 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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“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
“Victor Hernandez Cruz’s Beneath the Spanish is a vibrant poetic manifesto designed to unite the scattered indigenous peoples of the world.” —The Journal