The Gospel of Wildflowers and Weeds: Poems

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$18.95  $17.62
University of New Mexico Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 0.2 inches | 0.33 pounds
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About the Author
Orlando Ricardo Menes teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, where he is a professor of English. He is also the author of several other works of poetry, including Memoria, Fetish, and Heresies (UNM Press). He lives in South Bend, Indiana.
"In his sixth full-length collection . . . Orlando Ricardo Menes limns the fervent, sensuous textures of a childhood in Peru, his background as a Cuban American, and works by painters like Carlos Enríquez and writers like Federico García Lorca."--David Woo, Harriet Books

"Menes creates lush and startling soundscapes from the raw, material quality of language, as if to say there is no other place than this, there is no other way except through."--Plume Poetry
"Armpits of martyrs, altar boys, Ave Maria and Teresa of Avila begin this winsome, perspicacious, gritty, eloquent gospel. Ambivalent and detached from his Roman Catholicism, not an uncommon position for a poet in the modern world, I nevertheless felt a passion close to religion here, maybe more Shakespeare than Herbert, but something Godly notwithstanding. Menes states: 'I'm an earthy creature, the son of mud and the grandson of slime.' Our Cuban American Caliban is a cross between Pattiann Rogers and Luis Cernuda. Between cha-cha-chas and sassy bananas, Menes becomes a modern Prospero: 'With these words I take root in the quicksand of diaspora.' Are the best poems homeless? Are modern poets lost prophets? Menes's cornucopia of precise poems overflows with hope and joy and mercy--whether his intention or not, the more I read, the more God I saw."--Spencer Reece, author of The Clerk's Tale and The Road to Emmaus
"Orlando Menes's The Gospel of Wildflowers and Weeds is a tour de force. Its sweep is epic--ranging from the history of Catholicism to tourism in contemporary Cuba--and its language is viscerally lyric, each line so imbued with the pith of the sensory world that you can nearly smell and taste it in its 'snarled, crusted, curdled, mottled, & spirally' particularity. Speaking in the voices of visual artists and saints as well as his own, Menes excavates both the joys and the widespread oppression wrought by religious experience. This is an ecumenical and earthy gospel of wonder, spoken by a master poet of prophetic and oracular gifts that ultimately stand in service to 'the human, not the divine-- / This ragged, restless world my only shrine.'"--Christina Pugh, author of Stardust Media

"The poems of Orlando Ricardo Menes's The Gospel of Wildflowers and Weeds read like the intoxicatingly vivid scenes and portraits one finds in books of illumination. With every keenly extravagant brushstroke, with every turn, one enters a new vantage, a new vista, a new and extraordinarily imagined window--even in our belated, fractious, yet desultory moment--to what was once called the sacred."--Daniel Tobin, author of Blood Labors
"Never are Menes's many speakers without God as they traverse historical and personal landscapes, and never are they without the comfort of literary and artistic ancestors that have paved the way for beauty, truth, and an understanding of the world that transcends any one ideology."--Esteban Rodriguez, EcoTheo