Directions to the Beach of the Dead

ISBN-10: 0816524793

ISBN-13: 9780816524792

Edition: 2005

Authors: Richard Blanco

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In his second book of poetry, Richard Blanco explores the universal desire for home ("Should I live here? Could I live here?") through evocative narratives ("Today, home is a cottage with morning in the yawn of an open window"), playful musings ("what if I'm struck with Malta fever... dream of buying a little Maltese farm"), and lyrical power ("home is a forgotten recipe, a spice we can find nowhere, a taste we can never reproduce, exactly"). These poems take us on a relentless journey to Spain, Italy, France, Guatemala, Brazil, Cuba, and New England as they examine the ideal of home and the connections we seek through place, culture, family, love, and art ("the stars, this life, always moving and still"). An essential connection for Blanco is his Cuban heritage and exilio, his work is steeped in it. There are visits to his aunts in Cuba ("glad that I've come to sit at their table, eat what their hands have made, listen to their songs"). Tia Ida's woes over the revolution ("everywhere there are precious things suggesting she has not given up on herself"), memories of his father ("Here, I am my father working the sugar mill, swimming in the valley swales"); and his own nostalgic longing for a life in Cuba ("everything is mine, and yet all I can keep is the bare, silent spaces between mountains, the pause between the rustle of every palm"). This is a volume for all who have longed for enveloping arms and words, and for that sanctuary called home. Blanco embraces juxtaposition: the Cuban Blanco, the American Richard; the engineer by day, the poet by heart; the rhythms of Spanish, the percussion of English; the first-world professional, the bohemian. And at the center of it all, the mortalspirit on a journey ("So much of my life spent like this--suspended, moving toward unknown places and names or returning to those I know, corresponding with the paradox of crossing, being nowhere yet here") and the precious, fleeting moments when he can write: "I am, for a moment, not afraid of being no more than what I hear and see, no more than this." It is what we all hope for, too.
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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 9/1/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 80
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.286
Language: English

Time as art in the eternal city
A poet in Venice
Garden of the fugitives
We're not going to Malta ...
Through the straits of Messina, singing
In defense of Livorno
Somewhere to Paris
Torsos at the Louvre after Rilke
After Barcelona, in Barcelona
Directions to the beach of the dead
Winter of the volcanoes : Guatemala
Bargaining with a goddess after Rigoberta Menchu
Pirenopolis, Brazil : under protest
Return from El Cerrado
Silent family clips
Papa's bridge
What's love got to do?
Revisiting metaphors at South Point
Translation for Mama
Abuela's voices : a chronicle
Returning shine
Only brothers
Then someday
The perfect city code
Empty crosswords
What is not mine
Sending palms in a letter
Three unendings
When I was a little Cuban boy
Looking for blackbirds, Hartford
A little Hartford music
How can you love New York?
Letter from nowhere
Listening at Reading Farm, an elegy
No more than this, Provincetown
Crossing Boston Harbor
Mexican Almuerzo in New England
Chilo's daughters sing for me in Cuba
Visiting tia Aida
My Campo Santo
Where it begins - where it ends
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