Victor Hernández Cruz
|Victor Hernández Cruz|
|Born||February 6, 1949
Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico
|Period||1960s - present|
|Notable award(s)||International Griffin Poetry Prize; Guggenheim Foundation and NEA fellowships|
Victor Hernández Cruz[note 1] (born February 6, 1949) is a Puerto Rican poet who in 1969 became the first Hispanic to be published by a mainstream publishing house when Random House published his poetry book Snaps. In 1981, Life magazine named him one of America's greatest poets.
Hernández Cruz was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. In 1954, his family moved to New York City and lived in Spanish Harlem. There he received his primary and secondary education. He began to write poetry while attending Benjamin Franklin High School.
During his high school years he wrote various poems, including "Snaps". In 1969, Random House published his collection Snaps and the following year his poetry began to appear in various publications including Evergreen Review and the New York Review of Books.
In 1970, Hernández Cruz worked with New York's "Poetry-in-the-school" program. He moved to San Francisco in 1973 and served as a visiting poet in various colleges. From 1973 to 1975, he read and performed his works as a traveling troubadour, covering much of the United States.
In 1981, the April issue of Life magazine proclaimed Hernández Cruz a National Treasure when they included his name among the greatest American poets. He is the first Hispanic in the US to have this honor bestowed on him.
Hernández Cruz is a distinguished member of the famed Nuyorican school of poets (also referred to as the Nuyorican Movement). He tweaks syntactic conventions of English and Spanish to communicate his own voice.
- International Griffin Poetry Prize
- Guggenheim Foundation
- National Endowment for the Arts fellowships
- Papo Got His Gun. 1966 (chapbook).
- Snaps, Random House. 1969, 135 pp.
- Mainland: Poems. Random House. 1973. ISBN 978-0-394-46091-8.
- Panoramas. Coffee House Press. 2001. ISBN 978-1-56689-066-3.
- Maraca: New and Selected Poems, 1966-2000. Coffee House Press. 2001. ISBN 978-1-56689-122-6. (shortlisted for the 2002 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
- The Mountain in the Sea: Poems. Coffee House Press. 2006. ISBN 978-1-56689-191-2.
Allen Ginsberg wrote about Snaps:
Poesy news from space anxiety police age inner city, spontaneous urban American language as Williams wished, high school street consciousness transparent, original soul looking out intelligent Bronx windows.
- Before Columbus Foundation
- List of Puerto Rican writers
- List of Famous Puerto Ricans
- Puerto Rican literature
- Aparicio, Frances R. "Victor Hernández Cruz." Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition. Paul Lauter, General Editor. Cengage Online Study Center. Accessed January 10, 2010.
- Nicolas Kanellos, "Hispanic Firsts", Visible Ink Press; ISBN 0-7876-0519-0; p. 40.
- Poets.org - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More - Victor Hernández Cruz
- Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 10: Victor Hernandez Cruz." PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide. June 10, 2009. Accessed January 10, 2010.
- Author's website
- Griffin Poetry Prize biography
- Griffin Poetry Prize reading, including video clip
- Online interview with author on Letras Latinas Oral History Project.
- Works by or about Victor Hernández Cruz in libraries (WorldCat catalog)