The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood

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A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

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About the author

An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Richard blanco has published several volumes of acclaimed poetry. He is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, a recipient of several honorary doctorates, and a dynamic speaker supporting diversity, marriage equality, immigration, poetry in education, cultural exchange, and other important issues of our day. Currently, he shares his time between Boston and Bethel, Maine.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Sep 30, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780062313782
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / General
Biography & Autobiography / LGBT
Biography & Autobiography / Literary Figures
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“The emotional and practical challenges for a young immigrant are on full display in Grande’s evocative, inspiring memoir.” —People

From bestselling author Reyna Grande—whose remarkable memoir The Distance Between Us has become required reading in schools across the country—comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.

When Reyna Grande was nine years old, she walked across the US–Mexico border in search of a home, desperate to be reunited with the parents who had left her behind years before for a better life in the City of Angels. What she found instead was an indifferent mother, an abusive, alcoholic father, and a school system that belittled her heritage.

With so few resources at her disposal, Reyna finds refuge in words, and it is her love of reading and writing that propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now once again estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist “speak[ing] for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard” (Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.
This book is a history-breaking book. This important book contains autobiographies of seven Korean youth in the United States, with differing immigration experiences. This book provides important primary source documentation for Korean history, Immigration history, US history, Ethnic history, and Asian-American studies. No serious college library can go without this important book. Furthermore, this book will be a valuable addition to local and regional libraries with patrons interested in the American immigration experience and Asian-American studies. The editor of the book is Francis Won, who is currently at Hackensack Christian School in Bergen County, New Jersey. His father is the only Korean Episcopalian priest in the whole state of New Jersey. Contributors to this book have been identified as future leaders of the Korean people. Many of the contributing authors are intricately connected to Korean leadership in politics, business, banking, academics, and foreign policy. Praise for the book: "I highly recommend this book and hope that this story along with other stories in this monumentally important book of Korean youth voices would inspire many to find hope and courage in their struggles in life," Rev. Joseph S. Pae, Canon Pastor, Cathedral of the Incarnation, New York. "I am pleased to celebrate the publication of this important book, which is monumentally important for Korean Studies at the university level as well as for understanding Koreans at the popular level," President Bae-Yong Lee of Ehwa Women's University in South Korea. " I highly recommend," Jung-Ho Chang, President, Korea Daily Sports Newspaper, South Korea. "Congratulations!" President Soo-Sung Lee of Seoul National University, South Korea.
A “bold, luscious” memoir, “indispensable to anyone trying to forge their own truer path” (Ruth Reichl).

On one side, there is Grace: prize-winning author Diana Abu-Jaber’s tough, independent sugar-fiend of a German grandmother, wielding a suitcase full of holiday cookies. On the other, Bud: a flamboyant, spice-obsessed Arab father, full of passionate argument. The two could not agree on anything: not about food, work, or especially about what Diana should do with her life. Grace warned her away from children. Bud wanted her married above all—even if he had to provide the ring. Caught between cultures and lavished with contradictory “advice” from both sides of her family, Diana spent years learning how to ignore others’ well-intentioned prescriptions.

Hilarious, gorgeously written, poignant, and wise, Life Without a Recipe is Diana’s celebration of journeying without a map, of learning to ignore the script and improvise, of escaping family and making family on one’s own terms. As Diana discovers, however, building confidence in one’s own path sometimes takes a mistaken marriage or two—or in her case, three: to a longhaired boy-poet, to a dashing deconstructionist literary scholar, and finally to her steadfast, outdoors-loving Scott. It also takes a good deal of angst (was it possible to have a serious writing career and be a mother?) and, even when she knew what she wanted (the craziest thing, in one’s late forties: a baby!), the nerve to pursue it.

Finally, fearlessly independent like the Grace she’s named after, Diana and Scott’s daughter Gracie will heal all the old battles with Bud and, like her writer-mom, learn to cook up a life without a recipe.

"Richard Blanco, a Cuban raised in the United States, records his threefold burdens: learning and adapting to American culture, translating for family and friends, and maintaining his own roots. . . . Blanco is already a mature, seasoned writer, and his powers of description and determination to get every nuance correct are evident from the first poem. . . . Absolutely essential for all libraries." --Library Journal "As one of the newer voices in Cuban-American poetry, Blanco write about the reality of an uprooted culture and how the poet binds the farthest regions of the world together through language. . . . This book describes the price of exile and extends beyond the shores of America and the imagined shores of home." --Bloomsbury Review "Unlike most contemporary minority poetry, City of a Hundred Fires, introduces readers to the fullness and richness of ethnic life, and not only the frustration and isolation so often associated with it. Richard Blanco exquisitely portrays the triumphs and defeats of a land and a people that have just barely survived revolution and time, and, without sentiment or cliche, affirms the ability within us all to achieve wholeness." --Indiana Review "Blanco is a fine young poet, and this poetry, the bread and wine of our language of exile, is pure delight. May he continue to produce such a heavenly mix of rhythm and image-these poems are more than gems, they are the truth not only about the Cuban-American experience, but of our collective experience in the United States, a beautiful land of gypsies." --Virgil Suarez Richard Blanco was, as he says, "made in Cuba, asssembled in Madrid, and imported to the United States," meaning he was conceived in Cuba, born in Madrid, and arrived in the United States as an infant able to claim citizenship in three different countries. His work has appeared in many journals, magazines, and anthologies, including the Nation, Michigan Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Indiana Review. Blanco is a graduate of the MFA program in creative writing at Florida International University and also works as a civil engineer.
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