Cover image for Cool salsa : bilingual poems on growing up Latino in the United States
Cool salsa : bilingual poems on growing up Latino in the United States

Edge book

Edge book.
Cool salsa : bilingual poems on growing up Latino in the United States
Publisher Info:
New York : H. Holt and Co., c1994.
Physical Description:
123 pages ; 21 cm.
Edge book

Edge book.
General Note:
Pagination may vary.
Poems celebrating Hispanic culture are the focus of this collection. Liberal sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases with some poems translated from one language to another make this an ideal anthology for both the English class and the bilingual ESL classroom. Topics for poems extend from hot dogs to learning English to the revolution in Nicaragua. What all of the selections have in common is the adolescent experience at the core of the poem.


Call Number
Material Type
J 811.54 COOL Book Juvenile Nonfiction
YA 811.54 COOL Book YA Nonfiction
JUV 811.54 CARL Book Juvenile Nonfiction
J 811.54 COO Book Juvenile Nonfiction

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Growing up Latino in America means speaking two languages, living two lives, learning the rules of two cultures. Cool Salsa celebrates the tones, rhythms, sounds, and experiences of that double life. Here are poems about families and parties, insults and sad memories, hot dogs and mangos, the sweet syllables of Spanish and the snag-toothed traps of English. Here is the glory, and pain, of being Latino American.Latino Americans hail from Cuba and California, Mexico and Michigan, Nicaragua and New York, and editor Lori M. Carlson has made sure to capture all of those accents. With poets such as Sandra Cisneros, Martín Espada, Gary Soto, and Ed Vega, and a very personal introduction by Oscar Hijuelos, this collection encompasses the voices of Latino America. By selecting poems about the experiences of teenagers, Carlson has given a focus to that rich diversity; by presenting the poems both intheir original language and in translation, she has made them available to us all.As you move from memories of red wagons, to dreams of orange trees, to fights with street gangs, you feel Cool Salsa's musical and emotional cross rhythms. Here is a world of exciting poetry for you, y tú también.

Author Notes

Lori M. Carlson is an editor and translator who has concentrated on bringing Latino literature to American readers. As coeditor of Where Angels Glide at Dawn , she introduced new Latin American authors to younger readers. She is also the editor of American Eyes and Barrio Streets Carnival Dreams: Three Generations of Latino Artistry (both Holt). Her most recent book is Sol a Sol: Bilingual Poems . Ms. Carlson lives with her husband in New York City.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8-12-Whether discussing the immigrant's frustration at not being able to speak English, the violence suffered both within and outside of the ethnic community, the familiar adolescent desire to belong, or celebrating the simple joys of life, these fine poems are incisive and photographic in their depiction of a moment. Some of the poets are well-known, others are not, but all contribute to the whole. The Spanish translations capture the sense of the English so well that without the translator's byline one would be hard pressed to discern the original language. The same is true for those few poems translated from Spanish to English. This is a must for multicultural collections, and excellent enrichment material for literature courses.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

As hot as jalapenos and as cool as jazz, this collection serves up ``ingles con chile'' and Spanish that ``you feel in the blood of your soul.'' Lyrical, traditional poems share space with street-smart free verse, and works by the likes of Sandra Cisneros and Gary Soto are juxtaposed with entries from lesser-knowns. Illustrating the ``beat and pulse'' of generations of U.S. writers of Latin American heritage, the poems are presented both in the original and in translation; poems making use of both languages are easily accessible to English-only readers by virtue of an appended glossary of Spanish terms. In his introduction, Hijuelos ( The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love ) focuses on the ``unrelenting, unending sense of second classness'' that his parents experienced as Cuban emigrants and explains how this ``sense'' affected his uses of English and Spanish. The political agenda is not hidden, but the potency of the volume lies in Carlson's eclectic selection of voices--her volume approximates what one poet here calls ``a Mixtec chant that touches la tierra and the heavens.'' Ages 12-up. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-12. "Welcome to ESL 100, English Surely Latinized, / ingles con chile y cilantro, English as American / as Benito Juarez. Welcome, muchachos from Xochicalco, / learn the language of dolares [dollars] and dolores [pains], of kings / and queens, of Donald Duck and Batman. Holy Toluca!" Gina Valdes' "English con Salsa" leads off this anthology, setting the stage, as it were, for a wonderful assortment of poems that express Latino culture and the concerns of growing up in the U.S. Some of the poems are presented bilingually, translated from the original English or vice versa; others are a telling mix of both languages--"not necessarily Spanglish," according to Carlson. And although the poems are quite diverse stylistically and in subject matter, they all speak to the teenage experience, and the central sense that emerges from the whole is that the very mingling of the two languages is important in assimilating the two cultures and in maintaining an awareness of yourself and your heritage. Hence, slang and fractured grammar slip into both languages here, but at times the Spanish rendition is awkward. (For example, why call the living room el living, rather than la sala?) Some of the pieces express the pain of facing prejudice or brutality; others celebrate the beat of Latino life--the joys of good hot dogs, parties, mangoes, dancing, love. ~--Sally Estes

Table of Contents

Editor's NoteLori M. Carlson
IntroductionOscar Hijuelos
School Days English con Salsa by Gina Valdés
Translating Grandfather's House Traduciendo la casa de mi abuelo
Good Hot Dogs by Sandra Cisneros Buenos Hot Dogs
A Puerto Rican Girl's Sentimental Education by Johnna Vega La educación sentimental de una niña puertorriqueña
Learning English by Luis Alberto Ambroggio Aprender el ingles
Home and Homeland
Where You From? by Gina Valdés
Nothing More by Alfredo Chacón Nada más
Brown Girl, Blond Okie by Gary Soto Chica morena, campesina rubia
Why Do Men Wear Earrings on One Ear? by Trinidad Sanchez, Jr
For Ray by Ana Castillo Para Ray
Aquatic Show by Daniel Jácome Roca Espectáculo acuático
A Promising Future
Why Am I So Brown? by Trinidad Sanchez, Jr
Solidarity by Amado Nervo Solidaridad
We Would Like You to Know by Ana Castillo Nos gustaría que sepan
Return by Berta G. Montalvo Volver
Love Poem for My People by Pedro Pietri Poema de amor para mi gente
The Calling by Luis J. Rodríguez El llamado