Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems

by Juan Felipe Herrera

Paper Book, 2008






Tucson : University of Arizona Press, c2008.


"For nearly four decades, Juan Felipe Herrera has documented his experience as a Chicano in the United States and Latin America through stunning, memorable poetry that is both personal and universal in its impact, themes, and approach. Often political, never fainthearted, his career has been marked by tremendous virtuosity and a unique sensibility for uncovering the unknown and the unexpected. Through a variety of stages and transformations, Herrera has evolved more than almost any other Chicano poet, always re-inventing himself into a more mature and seasoned voice. Now, in this unprecedented collection, we encounter the trajectory of this highly innovative and original writer, bringing the full scope of his singular vision into view. Beginning with early material from A Certain Man and moving through thirteen of his collections into new, previously unpublished work, this assemblage also includes an audio CD of the author reading twenty-four selected poems aloud. Serious scholars and readers alike will now have available to them a representative set of glimpses into his production as well as his origins and personal development. The ultimate value of bringing together such a collection, however, is that it will allow us to better understand and appreciate the complexity of what this major American poet is all about."-- Publisher's description.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member bezoar44
will keep returning to these poems ad re-reading them, not because they have become favorites, but because I want to understand them, and have found so many opaque. They don't feel empty or facile, though it's a strange this to take away from a poem, that it reflects genuine craft, even when I have only dim sense of what the author is saying and haven't experienced its intended effect. But many of these feel like very good poems, just inaccessible to me, at least until I develop more sense of context to understand what Herrera is doing, or find a critical analysis that can open them up to me. For example, the series of loteria poems include great images and beautiful language, but I don't understand the referents enough to tell what most of them are saying.

Some of the simpler or more universal poems I do like, for example: 'Arc', which reminds me of Cavafy's erotic poetry, but in a present rather than a nostalgic moment; and 'Descending Tai Shan Mountain', in which the experience of being on the side of a sheer mountain serves as a metaphor for life generally
… (more)


Local notes

with CD


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