Beneath the Spanish

Coffee House. Oct. 2017. 176p. ISBN 9781566894890. pap. $16.99; ebk. 9781566895057. POETRY
A Lenore Marshall and Griffin Poetry Prize finalist, Cruz was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York and now splits his time between his homeland and Morocco. That's no coincidence; throughout this energized volume, the connections between Africa and the Caribbean are made vividly real, with Spain standing in the background. "My foot wants to danza South/ Sahara down" he says buoyantly; later, we see "Andalusian black hair/ Arabic culos night thighs/ of moon circles" in a poem citing Lorca, Jiménez, and Dalí. Short, punchy lines with telescoped syntax set the ongoing beat.
VERDICT A solid selection for neophytes and Cruz's fans alike.

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