Poetry Spotlight: Orlando Ricardo Menes


I recently read Furia by Orlando Ricardo Menes (Milkweed Edition, 2005) and was interested in how the author was able to move from the autobiographical to the mythological, drawing upon experiences of being born in Lima, Peru, to Cuban parents and one family line from China, all while being influenced by Miami and his move to the United States.

Throughout Furia, Orlando Ricardo Menes uses the global staple of rice to help glues his exploration of the political and global to the concerns of everyday people and members of his own family. This central image, whether used throughout a collection or in an individual poem, can help ground and add earthiness to work that might otherwise be too preachy or myopic. Below is one one of the poems from Furia, Mythopoesis, first published in Sycamore Review.

Martin Ott



Rice was not a gift of T’ien Ti,

God of Heaven, but that of a wild

dog. Long ago, on the plains

of Xietan, a flood killed all crops

so that humans had to hunt

in summer, scavenge in winter.

One day the clumsiest of hunters

saw a wild dog leave a marsh,

rice seeds stuck to its tail.

These grew and soon he harvested

them with his bare hands.

Thus the dog’s reward would

forever be a sweet and sticky ball

of glutinous brown rice.


Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

2 responses to “Poetry Spotlight: Orlando Ricardo Menes

  1. Pingback: Orlando Ricardo Menes: New Fetish, Old Furia. | SYCAMORE REVIEW

  2. Pingback: Orlando Ricardo Menes: New Fetish, Old Furia – SYCAMORE REVIEW

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