A first-generation Latino born in Chicago, Rane Arroyo is a leading poeta puertorriqueño and playwright whose readership transcends his ethnicity. In Home Movies of Narcissus, his fourth
collection of poetry, he writes more deliberately and with greater assurance of his search for identityboth cultural/racial and gender/sexualand his discovery of it within family and
community. Using sophisticated language to inspect life from barrio childhood to cosmopolitan manhood, Arroyo explores themes of gay strength and alienation, linked to his experiences as both a
Puerto Rican and an intellectual. Through a variety of approaches, he examines a major recurrent Latino paradox: the need to write about Latino issues while being criticized for being too
self-centered. Sometimes reserved, sometimes passionate, Arroyo writes with humor and a remarkable quickness of association, moving with a grace that makes seamless use of speech ranging from the
formal to the vernacular. Taking in love and sexuality, world literature and history, and the exile's heritage of a shifting geography of identity, he invokes remarkable imagery with language that is
economical, fresh, and mischievous. Some of Arroyo's poems take an autobiographical approach and show how poets have both the luxury and necessity of speaking for those in their lives. Others
create personas that take in the American experience from a variety of viewpointsincluding gays, who are often marginalized by the larger Latino community. "The Ponce de León
Poems" pit the poet against a ghost who seeks to direct his writing, while a final section, "The Black Moon Poems," deals with the many sleepless nights that Arroyo has spent struggling
with questions over the worth of his art and whether he has betrayed those he loves by writing-or not writing-about them. "In his home movies," he writes, "Narcissus is both the seen
and the seer." As Arroyo's insightful words demonstrate, the writer must come to value his own image but not fall in love with it, for it will change, age, and, if he is fortunate, finally grow
wise. As readers will discover in Home Movies of Narcissus, Rane Arroyo has seen past the mirror and charted a new territory of self-discovery.
Arroyo's hyperallusive free verse and his combination of themes drive this appealing mix of ambition and insight.