To present a survey of the Hispanic American experience and of the art produced by it, Sullivan (editor of the noteworthy anthology of African American art and literature Children of Promise ) gathers works by more than 100 painters, poets, writers, photographers, activists, scholars and historical figures. This time he builds an even more resonant portrait of a minority struggling to define and maintain its identity. Greats like Picasso, Tamayo, Paz and Rivers share space with folk artists, anonymous ancients and young contemporary artists. Anglos like James McNeill Whistler and Robert Frost add perspective, but the direct experience of Latinos never lapses--a consistent political urgency rises among the frequent flashes of gentle humor and the handsomely reproduced, often sensuous images. The poetry is particularly striking in its steely lyricism. Sullivan brings to this serious task great imagination, flair and sensitivity, and he delivers an inspiring book. Biographical notes included. All ages. (May)
This handsomely designed, large-size anthology, in the same series as Sullivan's "Children of Promise: African-American Literature and Art for Young People" (1991), brings together Latino poetry and prose with excellent reproductions of paintings and photographs. Inevitably, there are omissions (no Sandra Cisneros or Richard Rodriguez, for example), but there are great contributions by and about classic and contemporary Hispanic authors and artists, from Cervantes and Picasso to popular singer Gloria Estefan and writers Rudolfo Anaya and Judith Ortiz Cofer. The prose excerpts are the least interestingtoo brief and disconnectedbut the anthology's best selections reach out from particulars to all of us. As Nicholasa Mohr says here, the more specific you are in your writing, the more universal you become. There's much in translation, and bilingualism and borders are dominant themes, as in Perez-Firmat's colloquial poem about Home (Give the guy a break . . . / Let him stop having to translate himself / to himself / endlessly). Frida Kahlo's famous Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair is here, but there are also some less well known pieces, including the exquisite cover picture by Diego Rivera. This is a fine browsing collection that will introduce teens to the rich diversity of Latino culture.