Mixturao and Other Poems
Publication Date: September 30, 2008
Trim: 5.5” x 8.5”
Format: Trade Paperback
- In a mix of English, Spanish, and Spanglish, Laviera writes poems that reflect the experiences of Latinos in the U.S.
- Acclaimed Nuyorican poet’s fifth poetry collection
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About The Book
In the title poem of Tato Laviera’s fifth poetry collection, “Mixturao,” he celebrates the mix of diverse cultures and languages that make up America, and challenges those who advocate a monolingual existence: “We who integrate / urban America / simmering in each other’s / slangs indigenous / nativizing our tongues’ / cruising accents / who are you, English, / telling me, ‘Speak only English / or die?’”
Laviera deftly combines English and Spanish in this poetic celebration of his own bilingual, bicultural existence and the ever-increasing use of both languages in all fields, from music to technology. In his poem entitled “Spanglish,” he writes: “pues estoy creando spanglish / bi-cultural systems / scientific lexicographical / inter-textual integrations / two expressions / existentially wired / two dominant languages / continentally abrazándose …”
Divided into sections that examine borders, women, men, neighborhoods, and folklore, Laviera continues his life-long poetic exploration of his Afro-Puerto Rican roots planted in the urban cacophony of New York City. In “Nideaquinedeallá” (“Neither from Here nor from There”), he writes about the sense of alienation that all immigrants face when they are considered foreigners in both their native and adopted lands.
The poems of Tato Laviera are complex and engaging, and through his words, his spirit, his bilingualism, and his dual identity, he offers the reader poems that are a celebration of life and identity.
“Dedicated to celebrating the diverse and complex compilation that is America… Mixturao entertains as well as invokes thought in readers, recommended.”
–Midwest Book Review
“Laviera challenges the idea of the purity of any language, as both English and Spanish are transformed by non-European elements… Thus the ‘AO’… becomes the linguistic symbol for… resistance to acculturation [which] reside(s) in the African component of Puerto Rican culture, on the Island and in the metropolis.”
JESUS “TATO” LAVIERA (1950-2013) was a poet, playwright, novelist and community advocate. Born in Puerto Rico, he was raised in the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, or Loisaida. He is generally acknowledged to be the best selling Hispanic poet in the United States. He performed his works all over the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. His books include La Carreta Made a U-Turn; Enclave, winner of the American Book Award; AmeRícan; Mainstream Ethics; and Mixturao and Other Poems, and Bendición: The Complete Poetry of Tato Laviera, all published by Arte Público Press. His plays have been produced in Chicago and New York City, and have been staged at The New Federal Theater, The Public Theater, the Delcourt Theatre in Central Park, Circle in the Square, and Theatro Cuatro.