Crossing Bridges. By Harold Recinos. ISBN-13: 978-1888205633 $23.95
This is a joint publication of of Berkeley and Floricanto Presses
"This beautiful and powerful collection of poems and testimonios captures the heart and soul of the Latino experience in the New America. A remarkable montage of images, feelings, and expressions that lift the spirit and plumb the depth and promises of the American experience.” —Gaston Espinosa, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, Claremont McKenna College. Author of Latino Pentecostals in America: Faith & Politics in Action (Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2014), and Religion, Race, & Barack Obama's New Democratic Pluralism (New York: Routledge, 2013).
"This is poetry of the soul. It turns disquiet into revelation."—Ilan Stavans, Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College. Author of Quixote: The Novel and the World (N.Y.: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015) and Borges, the Jew. (State University of New York Press, 2016).
Crossing Bridges expresses a tension between the fluidity of a river and the stubborn cold toughness of a wall that endeavors to mark a border to naturalize separation and division. The poet Harold Recinos’ greatest achievement, what is moving about his writing, and I'm sure will touch the readers as well, is his lyrical and moral commitment to challenge walls and to flow relentless, even if painfully, opening cracks in them. Recinos challenges the wall and nativist prohibitions, and bets the common good can be experienced with the people in el barrio. To read these poems is to start to live in el barrio del mundo. —Francisco Morán, Professor of Latin American Literature, Southern Methodist University, Author of Martí, la justicia infinita [1875-1894]). Madrid: Verbum, 2014, and Island Of My Hunger / Isla de mi hambre. Bilingual Anthology of Contemporary Cuban Poetry. City Lights: San Francisco, 2007.
Harold Recinos’ Puerto Rican mother and Guatemalan father came to the United States motivated least by the American dream, than a desperate flight from a life of misery and despair. Their story like that of so many Latino families new to the United States was one of social exclusion and permanent poverty. Crossing Bridges is for Recinos a way to give voice to the overlooked world of Latino men, women and children at the edges of society. The poems in this collection are Recinos’ graffiti on the wall of public culture and his way of embracing those who are made invisible and treated unworthy of being heard and touched. Crossing Bridges is an act of remembrance grounded in ethnic identity that seeks to dignify the loathed humanity of the barrio and communicate a deeper understanding of forgotten places.
Harold J. Recinos is professor of Church and Society at the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Among his recent publications are Good News from the Barrio: Prophetic Witness for the Church (WJKP, 2006), Harold J. Recinos, ed. Wading Through Many Voices: Toward a Theology of Public Conversation (Roman and Littlefield, 2011); Voices on the Corner (Wipf and Stock, 2015); Long Way Home (Floricanto Press, 2016). He completed the Doctor of Philosophy with honors (Ph.D.) in cultural anthropology in 1993 from the American University in Washington, D.C.. Since the mid-1980s, Recinos has worked with the Salvadoran refugee community and with marginal communities in El Salvador on issues of human rights.
Long Way Home. By Harold J. Recinos. ISBN-13: 978-1888205626. $19.95
Latino barrio Fiction--Social Life and customs
This is a joint publication of Floricanto and Berkeley Presses.
Harold Recinos’ love for poetry begins growing up on Home Street—the South Bronx. A tough place. A tormented place. At age twelve, he was abandoned to New York City streets by destitute Latino immigrant parents. The son of a Puerto Rican Mother and Guatemalan Father, Recinos lived for four years in abandoned urban tenements, public parks, 24-hour movie houses and parked Greyhound passenger buses in New York City. He roamed around the country living for a period in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, and San Juan, Puerto Rico learning to respond to the pitiful conditions of life around him by falling into the world of heroin addiction. At age sixteen, Recinos met a Presbyterian minister who took him in, made him part of a new family, and guided him back to school. Recinos went back to school, rediscovered the meaning of family, and cultivated his enduring love for the life of an engaged mind. While attending graduate theological study in New York City, Recinos befriended the Nuyorican poet the late Miguel Piñero who encouraged him to write and read poetry at the Nuyorican poets café. Long Way Home was shaped by years of living on the streets and crossing cultural boundaries in American society. The poems are about lives torn about by the suffering shaped by anti-immigrant sentiment, American racism, classism, sexism, poverty, premature death, drug addiction, religious violence and ineffectiveness, and social alienation. Long way Home also touches on common human experiences that supersede the particularities of cultural identity by giving voice to the subjectivities and viewpoints of people in overlooked places who articulate universal pulses of life. “Recinos’ poems are powerful cantos and gritos of love, anger, and sadness that oblige his readers to stare into the darkness to see the eyes of those we too often choose to ignore. His lines reveal a crisis of faith: in the church, the economic system, and the mythology of America as a place that welcomes immigrants. He curses economic injustice, police violence, the unrealized potential of child migrants and the reality that makes the subjects of his poems desperately seek solace.
The poems in Long Way Home memorialize, historicize, publicize, and chastise with beautifully woven words that seek to incite change by bridging the great gulf between parent and child, neighbor and neighbor, holy word and vulgar indifference, Spanish and English, between the promise of America and its bleak reality. These are gritty tales of real people who we are too often invisibilized. Though the poet implores us to see and hear and touch the downtrodden, he does not invoke pity, but admiration for their endurance, empathy so that we might see how our destinies are intertwined, and anger for the way the vulnerable are exploited.” Louis Mendoza, PhD, Prof. of Literary and Cultural Studies, Arizona State University; Author of Conversations Across Our America: Talking About Immigration and the Latinoization of the U.S. (University of Texas, 2012).
“More academics should follow Harold Recinos’ lead in bringing highbrow aesthetics to the giddy reality of those in need. To read poetry rooted in the margins is to discover the existing beauty in the midst of despair and disenfranchisement. Recinos paints for us what those with privilege seldom get to see.” Miguel de la Torre, Prof. of Social Ethics, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colorado. Author of The Politics of Jesus: A Hispanic Political Theology (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) .