Poetry by Victor Hernández Cruz

September 1, 1997 • 6 x 9 • 192 pages • 978-1-56689-066-3

Dancing in your hands, Panoramas illuminates Latin American/Caribbean culture in the U.S. and abroad.

A native of Puerto Rico who grew up in New York during the fifties, Cruz seeks out the most disparate images, ideas, people, and finds in them confluence, rather than conflict. Utilizing a system of Caribbean syntheses, he meditates on his native soil and its diaspora. Inspired by Latin American oral traditions and literature and diverse northern poetics, he melts these influences into a tapestry, creating a unique North American contemporary style truly his own.

With the power of a tropical storm and the heat of the sweltering sun, Cruz presents a bird’s-eye view of the crisscrossing cultures in Latin America, the Caribbean, Los Angeles, and the Lower East Side. Included in Panoramas are works in both Spanish and English.

About the Author

Victor Hernández Cruz is the author of several collections of poetry including The Mountain in the Sea and In the Shadow of Al-Andalus. Featured in Bill Moyers’s 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.


“Victor Hernández Cruz has been singing to us for almost thirty years. From his native Puerto Rico to the continent of a million streets, his voice has been heard. As poetry influences how we step into the next century, Cruz’s poems will be some of the first we read on the other side.” —Ray Gonzalez

Panoramas’s synthesis of prose and poetry, Spanish and English, New Yorkese and Puerto Rican, offers a surprisingly civilized and gracious tone, a different possibility, for North America’s future.” —Alice Notley

“In these new poems and essays, colorful, percussive, erudite, and innovative as ever, Victor Hernández Cruz once again shares a world of generosity and live tradition. Wit, insight, and faith in the survival of a human universe combine to make this book a tonic and a gift. ¡Arriba Victor! ¡Arriba Puerto Rico!” —Anselm Hollo

“In Panoramas we not only hear the music of Puerto Rico, we share sensually in all it has to offer. The fantastic imagery of these poems transports us to the magical heart of El Caribe.” —Rudolfo Anaya

Panoramas is a wonderful celebration of the cultural blend of Puerto Rico’s Spanish, African, and Taino legacies, a veritable pot of sights, sounds, and flavors. La mancha de plantano comes alive in the writings of Victor Hernández Cruz.” —Adrian R. Tio