Palm Crows by Virgil Suarez
(Camino del Sol)

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Hibiscus, banyan trees, and royal palms. Mango jam, white slices of sugarcane, and oxtail stew. Childhood games with fireflies and snail shells. These are images of a Cuba that many remember and others have never known, captured here in the powerful poems of Virgil Suárez.

Born in Havana in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, Suárez is now one of more than a million Cubans living in the United States. In Palm Crows Suárez offers a compelling canción of loss, longing, and memory as he explores the meaning of exile. In poems that range from playful and fantastic to elegiac and meditative, he writes about “the in-betweenness of spirit” of those who have left their home and must try to forge a new one in the United States.

Invoking water, song, earth, and darkness, he seeks to create his place in the world—a place for his family and his spirit to call home. He constructs a slippery camouflage of animals: fish-beings, turtles, chupacabras, birds. As Suárez’s poem-stories drift from one form and species to another, these creatures reincarnate and retell their lives to each other and to us.

Like the crows of Hialeah, Virgil Suárez sings of exile, of absence, of captured cities, lost love, and claimed lives. Palm Crows shows us an almost mythical Cuba, offering a compelling testament both to the immigrant experience and to our own search for home.


About Virgil Suarez

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Virgil Suarez was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1962. Since 1974 he has lived in the United States. In addition to his six previous collections of poetry, he is the author of four novels, "The Cutter, Latin Jazz, Havana Thursdays," and "Going Under," and of the collections of stories "Welcome to the Oasis and Other Stories." Two memoirs, "Spared Angola: Memories from a Cuban-American Childhood" and "Infinite Refuge," chronicle his life of exile. He has edited many successful anthologies, including "Iguana Dreams: New Latino Fiction; Little Havana Blues: A Cuban-American Literature Anthology; American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement; Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America"; and "Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality." He lives in Florida.
Published July 1, 2001 by University of Arizona Press. 89 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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