Ricantations documents Puerto Rico’s people and places, calling out corruption such as child murderer Nathan Leopold, later turned island ornithologist (“Chairman of the Committee of Nomenclature” and “Memoir of Repairs to the Colony”), but also mapping spaces of creativity and pleasure and zooming in on the wonders of the everyday. “Life is on the wire / everything else is just waiting,” says Nik Wallenda, a high-wire circus act in “The Flying Wallendas in Puerto Rico.” This book is redolent with stories, texture and imagery, with each piece serving to record as well as interrogate history and culture. Amid all this, it is the eponymous “Ricantations” that really anchors the collection, bringing attention to the contemporary moment of Hurricane Maria.

Marcia Douglas
World Literature Today