The Buried Sea
New and Selected Poems
Reading Rane Arroyo’s poems is a little like watching a movie playing at fastforward speed on the TV in your darkened bedroom. The colors pop and snap, the images leap and recede, the colors seem brighter than life—and you can’t stop watching even long enough to blink. It’s an intimate experience. Even at hyperspeed you can make out the images of friends, family, and lovers (especially lovers) burning rubber across the unblinking screen. And even without a sound track, you can hear the music—a symphony of jazz and samba, salsa and street sounds.
In The Buried Sea, Arroyo has selected poems from his first eleven books—five full-length collections of poems and six chapbooks—and has added nineteen new poems. When asked to describe himself, Arroyo writes that “the answer is easy: I’m a Puerto Rican, gay, Midwestern, educated, former working class, liberal, atheistic, humanist, American, male, ex-Mormon, ex-Catholic, pseudo-Buddhist, teacher, reader, global, and popular culture—informed poet.” Readers will find traces of all of these selves in this collection. And Arroyo does make it “easy” to follow the clues. His poems—vivacious, sexy, shiny, sly, pointed, ambitious—are easy to approach and easy to love. But they come with strings attached—like all affairs of the heart—and therein lies so much of their pleasure.
“His ability to make poems that draw the reader into universal experiences is not a common achievement but a masterful triumph few poets can claim.” —The Bloomsbury Review
"In Rane Arroyo's poetry we hear echoes of Whitman, Lorca, Neruda. But more important, we hear Arroyo's own song of self rendered with a lyricism that belies its astonishing and redolent honesty. The Buried Sea: New and Selected Poems is a powerful addition to the American literary landscape." —Connie May Fowler, author of The Problem with Murmur Lee
"Arroyo works in a Spanish language tradition of larger-than-life autobiographical verse." —Publishers Weekly
"The harvests served upon these pages are skeleton keys unlocking the worlds we keep trapped in our rib cage... They hum, sing, and salsa across each deep-plowed page.... What gifts. Let us call "Junito" by his many names: Mapmaker, Merman, Motownito, locksmith, Baldwin, and Neruda's illegitimate son!" —Frank X. Walker, author of Black Box