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Rumba Atop the Stones

A richly complex continuum of voices and characters inhabits these poems. An ecstatic hermit cultivates saints’ body parts in a hothouse by the sea. A washerwoman invokes Oshún, orisha of love, while scrubbing laundry, and then a songbird magically appears.

£7.99

Author(s)
Orlando Menes
ISBN
9781900715492
Pages
90
Price
£7.99
Classification
Poetry
Setting
United States of America, Cuba
Date published
1 Jun 2001

A richly complex continuum of voices and characters inhabits these poems. An ecstatic hermit cultivates saints’ body parts in a hothouse by the sea. A washerwoman invokes Oshún, orisha of love, while scrubbing laundry, and then a songbird magically appears. A fisher’s acolyte son 'flies from island / to island, wreathing with rain-lilies / light houses, masts, and campanili'. An exiled Caliban meditates on the music of lifeless creatures as a source of power and aesthetic revelation. A communist Afro-Cuban dockworker rails against sugar as the black man’s curse, while on a sugar plantation European Jewish immigrants and black cutters celebrate their common diasporic heritage. His verse rich in imagery and metaphor, the poet constructs a cosmic vision of the Caribbean that weaves African, European, and indigenous elements into a vibrant new synthesis, creating islands at once strange and familiar, haunting and sublime. Orlando Ricardo Menes writes poetry of baroque imagination and passionate energy.

'Cuban-American Orlando Ricardo Menes is not only a compelling poet, he’s a storyteller, telling his stories in the first person or in a charged and compressed narrative. The poet touches all bases - magic realism, humor, irony, horror, mystery, mysticism - laced with references to tropical flora, fauna, history, and the melding of African and European religious mythologies.' 
Phyllis and David Gershator, The Caribbean Writer.

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Orlando Menes

Orlando Ricardo Menes was born in Lima, Peru in 1958 to Cuban parents. His father owned a furniture manufacturing and retail business until in 1968 a military coup toppled the government and began expropriating foreign owned businesses. In that year his family moved to Miami and, with the exception of a couple of years in Spain in the 1970s, Menes lived there until he moved to Chicago in the 1990s. He currently lives in Notre Dame, Indiana.

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