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City of a Hundred Fires

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  127 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Named one of Library Journal’s Top 20 Poetry Books of 1998

City of a Hundred Fires presents us with a journey through the cultural coming of age experiences of the hyphenated Cuban-American. This distinct group, known as the Ñ Generation (as coined by Bill Teck), are the bilingual children of Cuban exiles nourished by two cultural currents—the fragmented traditions and tran
Paperback, 74 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by University of Pittsburgh Press
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Marne Wilson
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A friend passed this book along to me, and one day I picked it up and started reading and was entranced by the deceptively simple narrative poems I found inside. Blanco grew up in Miami, part of a large extended family of Cuban exiles, and while there are plenty of poets writing about childhood memories, the poems in this collection are chock full of sensory details, making me feel that I had witnessed Blanco’s childhood firsthand. For example, here’s the opening stanza of “Mother Picking Produc ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Richard Blanco‘s City of a Hundred Fires is a collection published by the University of Pittsburgh Press about the Cuban-American experience, which won the 1997 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. The collection is broken down into two sections and each poem contains not only English, but also Spanish phrases, which readers may or may not know offhand. Readers who are bilingual will have little trouble, though those who have a working knowledge of Spanish or don’t will be able to gather what Blan ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Amazing. I am going to buy some Jupina tomorrow.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've stared this collection a minimum of five times; today was the day I began and finished it in a single sitting. Could be the weather--sticky rain blurring the fire of early October--that makes me thank Blanco for enveloping me in dirt and heat. These poems are drawings, illustrations and beckonings. Reading Blanco's prose poems in particular, I am drawn from the US to Cuba, drawn to Cuba, then drawn and quartered. Many of these poems are cutting, particularly those that locate Blanco's histo ...more
I liked the wide variety of formats Blanco used in his poetry. The imagery was great, but probably less meaningful to me than it would be to other readers who are more familiar with Cuban history.
Aug 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
On the upside, colorful, bright imagery and occasionally a real confrontation with the double-ness of being an "export." In a few poems, the intersection of two languages is especially noteworthy. Definitely trades in the "exotic," but as an extension or part of an "authentic" self, that seeks to make and remake itself in the space created by conflict between American and Cuban culture, between the familial and the erotic, between peace and violence.

On the downside, too much cookbook and ViewMa
Edward Moore
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
OK. Catching up. I was not going to bother with GoodReads but hey, and added incentive for thoughtful reading. I love reading poetry and since Richard Blanco is living in Maine and will be reading at President Obama's inauguration I have now read his three books.
As the bio blurb says "Richard Blanco was made in Cuba, assembled in Spain and imported to the United States." His poetry reflects this heritage and is rich with Spanish words, images and so many colors and tastes. It took me a little
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read about Richard Blanco when he read the Inaugural Poem 'One Today' at President Obama's inauguration earlier this year. Took me almost seven months to get a copy of his first collection -- no copy was to be found in any bookstore or library in Singapore. to the rescue.
It was worth the wait. His poems and prose breathe life of the Cuban migrant with just a few words and stanzas. I just wish I understood the Spanish that peppers his work.
Just the first poem in the collection,
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, obama
I'm the kind of geek who looks forward every four years to the inaugral poem. I even buy copies of them. I suspect I may be alone in this but there you go. I didn't think anyone would ever out do Maya Angelou's On the Pulse of Morning...until this year.

Richard's Blano's poem brought tears to my eyes. That had never happened before so I had to read more of his work.

Blanco's poetry changed my whole idea of poetry. His poems read like stories. They all speak to his Cuban heritage, but a country of
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I first heard of Richard Blanco when he read the poem One Today at President Obama's second inaugural. Then I heard him on NPR reading some of his poems with Terri Gross interviewing him. I thought he seemed a bit like Walt Whitman in terms of his feeling for the mass of people. His Cuban background and engineering profession intrigued me as well. Reading this first book of poetry, I was slowed down a bit by the frequent use of Spanish, some of which I understand mi querida, some of which I have ...more
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Richard Blanco, poet extraordinaire and Civil Engineer all in one. He dedicates this book to memories of his father.
Based on his Cuban-American upbringing, he writes of his memories and experiences. He is able to laugh at what's funny about America from his perspective but through it all you feel a man that loves America. My favorite poems in this book were Crayons for Elena and Found Letters of 1965 but you will enjoy many others as well.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I'd already fallen in love with Richard Blanco's story when it was announced he'd recite an original poem at the inauguration. After reading his poetry, my love is still there. This is the poetry you think of, rhyming couplets and such but beautiful prose poems that tell slice of life stories. My favorites were "324 Mendoza Avenue, #6" and "A Note About Sake".
Anne Bartlett
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Blanco was the poet at the last inauguration, and I suggested this book, his first, to the poetry discussion group I attend. It's quite delightful, particularly to those familiar with South Florida, but really to anyone interested in cultural cross-currents.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
After reading this collection of Richard Blanco's poetry you will understand why President Obama chose Mr. Blanco to deliver the Inauguration poem.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Lisa Carter
Aug 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I am not a big fan of poetry
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Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Occasional brilliance, more often bland.
Denise Stacks
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Zachary Gorelick
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Aug 24, 2017
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Mar 12, 2015
William Trently
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Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968, immigrating as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to the U.S. He was raised and educated in Miami, earning a B.S. in civil engineering and a M.F.A. in creative writing from Florida International University.

In 2013, Blanco was chosen to serve as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, following in the footsteps as such great writers as Robert Fr
More about Richard Blanco...