Synopses & Reviews
Although today Luis Pales Matos is virtually unknown to most American readers, the eminent U.S. poet and writer William Carlos Williams once praised his younger contemporary as "one of the most important poets out of Latin America".
Pales Matos was a native, and lifelong resident, of Puerto Rico. Though he was not black, he became one of the Caribbean's leading advocates of poesia negra (black poetry). His landmark 1937 collection Tuntun de Pasa y Griferia: Poesia Afro-Antillana (Tom-Tom of Kinky Hair and Black Things: Afro-Caribbean Poetry) joyously celebrated the African aspects and sources of Puerto Rico's culture and influenced later generations of writers throughout the Western hemisphere.
Translator Julio Marzan has selected the best of Pales Matos's poems from throughout his career, among them "Prelude in Boricua", "Danza Negra", "Buccaneer Winds", and "Elegy on the Duke of Marmalade". He also provides a helpful glossary of obscure terms and an introduction that locates Pales Matos in the broader cultural context of his contemporaries and poetic influences -- including such North American poets as Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Vachel Lindsay.