Poet and novelist Ortiz Cofer offers her readers an affecting view of Puerto Rican New York in this autobiographical assortment of essays and poems. Her stories celebrate, mourn, and honor Latinas, collectively and individually, and also consider the influential men in her own life: the author’s beloved, unknowable, philandering father; the first boy she loved; her heartbreakingly deteriorating grandfather.
The alternating sections of evocative prose and narrative poetry first construct a vision of life in the busy apartments of El Building and the shops of its neighborhood, then comment directly on self, heritage, culture clash, racism, and sexism. A strong, moving set of daughter-poems finishes this slim but substantial volume.
Judith Ortiz Cofer is the Regents’ and Franklin Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Georgia. She is the author of many books including a novel The Line of the Sun (Georgia), a young adult novel The Meaning of Consuelo, and a collection of poetry A Love Story Beginning in Spanish (Georgia).