Growing up Latino in America means speaking two languages, living two lives, learning the rules of two cultures. “Cool Salsa” celebrates the tones, rhythms, sounds, and experiences of that double life. Here are poems about families and parties, insults and sad memories, hot dogs and mangos, the sweet syllables of Spanish and the snag-toothed traps of English. Here is the glory–and pain–of being Latino American.
Latino Americans hail from Cuba and California, Mexico and Michigan, Nicaragua and New York, and editor Lori M. Carlson has made sure to capture all of those accents. With poets such as Sandra Cisneros, Martin Espada, Gary Soto, and Ed Vega, and a very personal introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, this collection encompasses the voices of Latino America. By selecting poems about the experiences of teenagers, Carlson has given a focus to that rich diversity; by presenting the poems both in their original language and in translation, she has made them available to us all.
As you move from memories of red wagons to dreams of orange trees to fights with street gangs, you feel “Cool Salsa”‘s musical and emotional cross rhythms. Here is a world of exciting poetry for you, y tu tambien.