Tropical Town and Other Poems


by Salomón de la Selva

Edited, with an Introduction, by Silvio Sirias

ISBN: 978-1-55885-235-8
Publication Date: 1998
Bind: Trade Paperback
Pages: 174

“The Nicaraguan-born poet Salomon de la Selva poses a unique and fascinating case in the recovery of U.S. Hispanic literature. The challenge of studying de la Selva’s first published collection of poetry, TROPICAL TOWN AND OTHER POEMS, arises as soon as we attempt to trace its literary lineage… TROPICAL TOWN represents the first English-language collection of poetry by a Hispanic writer in the United Sates — a fact unknown to most scholars and students of Hispanic-American literature…The hopes and visions within the pages of this poetic collection seek to move and inspire the American reader as well as reflecting the hopes and aspirations of Hispanic-Americans. TROPICAL TOWN constitutes de la Selva’s call to all of us to build a bridge of understanding and solidarity between the continent’s English- and Spanish-speaking peoples” (Silvio Sirias, from the Introduction).

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Tropical Town and Other Poems, de la Selva’s little-known first collection, was written in English while he resided in the U.S.; he employs traditional rhyme, meter, and forms such as the sonnet and quatrain. Some works celebrate de la Selva’s native land, Nicaragua, while others, such as “Finally” and “The Dreamer’s Heart Knows Its Own Bitterness,” speak of the United States with a mixture of admiration and misgiving. Love lyrics intermingle with folk songs and poems observing the war then raging in Europe. All are marked by a graceful verbal music, embodying what poet Grace Schulman has called “a poetry of deep concern for human suffering.” In a thoughtful critical introduction, Silvio Sirias surveys the poet’s life and work, and examines the “poetic dialogues” that de la Selva conducted with Millay and Dario.