"Reading this collection gave me the thrilling feeling I was trespassing on the intimate correspondence between a lover and a beloved -- and filled me with envy. Ah, to be the receiver of such exquisite letters! Ah, to be the object of such exquisite love!"
--Sandra Cisneros, author of Caramelo and The House on Mango Street,
and the poetry collection Loose Woman
"For those of us who became devotees of Richard Blanco's first, prize winning book, City of a Hundred Fires
, for its luscious, eloquent voice, this second volume is reason for celebration. Mr. Blanco's Directions to The Beach of the Dead
is absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous in its quest for place, family, self-discovery. This book is as fresh as it is invigorating. Mr. Blanco's voice is unmistakably brilliant and original. For all poetry lovers, this will be a difficult book to top."
, author of 90 Miles: Selected and New
(University of Arizona Press)
"In his new volume of poems, Richard Blanco extends his reach and strengthens his grasp. Part travel diary and part journal intime, Directions to The Beach of the Dead
takes Blanco into uncharted territory, emotionally as well as geographically, showcasing his great gift for the precise notation of sights, thoughts, and feelings. This book confirms Blanco's place as a strong and distinctive voice in American poetry."
--Gustavo Pérez Firmat
, Columbia University
"This work is about 'the paradox of crossing, being nowhere yet here,' where travelers, family members, and lovers seem perpetually in a state of 'almost touching,' of 'learn[ing] to adore [their] losses.' Heartfelt and elegant, these exquisitely crafted poems place Blanco in that pantheon of poetas from the Americas who have flourished in the Old World and the New. Directions to The Beach of the Dead
-- spanning three continents -- marks Richard Blanco as arguably the most cosmopolitan poet of his generation."
, author of Puerta del Sol
"In Directions to The Beach of the Dead
, Richard Blanco enacts the exile's great conflict in his astonishing, unerring poems of distance and desire, refuge and release. At once pensive and restless, full of both abandonment and abandon, this book is ultimately a journey to the haunted, utterly familiar places in our own hearts. Lost Cuba, newfound love, immemorial time -- this soulful poet gives us all that is at once impossible to have ever owned, and yet ever within
the reach of our having known."
, author of Landscape with Human Figure
"The universe of Richard Blanco is a place of lush, exhilarating landscapes and kindred souls. Its sweep is both magnificent and intimate in detail. And it shines most gloriously in his latest offering, Directions to The Beach of the Dead
. His words are honey from Ochún herself."
, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer
"Richard Blanco has written a strong and beautiful book that takes his fine poetry forward to a new and exciting level. While these poems possess a keen sense of past and place, they move beyond nostalgia to the rich difficulties of the nowhere but here that is his clear milieu."
--Elizabeth Alexander, Yale University
"Richard Blanco is a troubadour of Exile. . .with aching stories of its displacement, loss and nostalgia, -- that uniquely Cuban reverie --
for what might have been."
--Ann Louise Bardach, author of Cuba Confidential:
Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana