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Rumba Atop the Stones

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9781900715492

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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

Orlando Ricardo Menes was born in Peru to Cuban parents. He has lived most of his life in Florida, and considers himself a Cuban American. He currently teaches at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
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