Banyan: Poems-Books-Palm Beach Bookery
Virgil Suarez

Banyan: Poems

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Banyan: Poems  By: Virgil Suarez

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Like the tree of its title, Virgil Suarez's dazzling new sequence of poems sends tendrils of memory and desire deep into the rich soil of a Havana childhood and the post-Revolution Cuban diaspora. Amid the uncertainty and loss of immigrant exile in Florida, where "a father's hand clutches / any dirt it can call its own," the single trunk of the banyan sends branches downward into the earth to become themselves sturdy trunks--fathers and sons, same fibers, same blood.

Incantatory, grounded in lush physical detail, BANYAN evokes the Cuba of history as well as a lost mythic landscape remembered by a son who has "learned this intricate art of leaving, / of saying good-bye to everything home, memories / like fire, a leaver's good-bye to all things irretrievable." Poised between loss and the restless search for identity and rootedness, these memories are sometimes searing but more often allow a son to generate "the music that has saved us all from ruin, / madness, bloodshed, from dying, from bitterness."

 One of the first of such poetry collections written in English by Cubans/Cuban Americans living in the United States, BANYAN is an efflorescing testament to the nature of immigration and the quest for a father and a sense of place.


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