In Memoria, Menes offers powerful yet also nuanced coming-of-age poems that interrogate maleness in Cuban-American culture and probe the complexities of a Spanish heritage, as well as poems that evoke past relationships, the cultural vibrancy of food, and his own upbringing in the Catholic faith. Interspersed among locations of immigration, from Miami to Madrid, many poems explore vivid memories of how music in the 1970s, including the songs of Lou Reed and Alice Cooper, became anthems for a young man's transformation into adulthood.
Heresies is an invocation of Latin American and Caribbean culture, history, and spirituality. Through free verse and poetic forms, the collection is visually charged and sonically rich. The poems incorporate history, legend, and magical realism to create a cross-cultural baroque feeling. Heresies is witty, probing, transgressive, and carnivalesque.
These are poems, whether in free verse or in traditional forms, that sew together stories of dislocation and loss, oppression and poverty, threadings of survival and hope, lives of work and faith seamed into a reverent wholeness that Menes calls the Américan tapestry, by which he means all the Americas.
This eye-opening and exotic new poetry collection tells a story in a way that few books of poetry do. Filled with colors, textures, tastes, and beautifully crafted language, these sensual poems recall the author's Peruvian/Cuban ancestry and his childhood in Peru and Florida, taking the reader on a journey full of delights — and dangers. There are maids who serve monkeys for dinner, elementary-school thugs wielding knives, and frogs falling from the sky, as Furia confronts issues of race, culture, and identity and portrays the world's vastness and diversity — as well as its simple pleasures.
In verse rich in imagery and metaphor, Cuban-American poet Orlando Menes constructs a cosmic vision of the Caribbean that weaves African, European and indigenous elements into a vibrant synthesis. The voices of communist, Christian and Orisha devotee blend in baroque celebration of the Caribbean's unique heritage.
Orlando Ricardo Menes's first collection of poetry, the winner of the 1994 Bacchae Press Chapbook Competition.