New Book: María Arrillaga’s Flamingos en San Juan/Flamingos in Manhattan


Flamingos en San Juan/Flamingos in Manhattan (Ediciones Puerto, 2012) is the evocative title of María Arrillaga’s latest poetry collection. About this new book, Daniel Torres (80grados) writes:

We stand before an ambitious bilingual work of poetic and hybrid texts in which there appears a delectable rumination on experiences, insights, and inspiration from the two great shores that are San Juan and Manhattan. There are traces of the well-known town, Woodstock, in which the author laid roots in her youth, with her daughter María Ana, and where she returned to take up residence once more in the past ten years. As a migratory bird that flies from the island to the mainland, spending periods of time in Puerto Rico and New York, the narrator of these texts reflects on the flamingo icon as a starting point for her literary biography: “Flamingo was exquisite. Exclusive and very classy, it appealed to the high society of Mayagüez. Innovative, it had the first neon sign in the village, a huge, colorful flamingo” (12).

She is referring to a business that her mother opened when the poet was just 11 years old, a branch in West Sultana of the Flamingo Shop, originally located in Santurce, whose owner was her cousin, Elsa Arcelay. Upon the death of her father, her mother—a trained chemist—was ready for a change. The Mayagüez-based memory of the colorful signboard of a flamingo would be linked, years later, with the plastic flamingos that abound as decorations “on the fire escape ladders” of the Big Apple. The author feels observed by them. She remembers. They communicate. Hence, the birth of a book. [. . .]

For the full review by Daniel Torres (in Spanish), see

For purchasing information, see

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