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literature

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Manrique, Jaime (b. 1949)  
 
page: 1  2  

Manrique's next novel, Colombian Gold: A Novel of Power and Corruption (1983), was a political thriller.

Neither of the books received much notice outside Colombia. In each the main character was, as Manrique stated in a 1999 interview, "basically bisexual." His "first openly gay novel"--and the one that brought him to international attention--was Latin Moon in Manhattan (1992).

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Through the eyes of Santiago Martínez Ardila, Manrique paints a vivid picture of the Colombian community in New York as well as various other characters--most of them quirky, but depicted affectionately--that the narrator meets. Manrique explores Martínez's identity as both a Colombian and now an American and also as a gay man. Long celibate, Martínez reawakens to his sexuality and eventually finds romance.

Manrique's next novel, Twilight at the Equator (1997), loosely autobiographical, is considerably darker. His main character, once again his alter ego Santiago Martínez, confronts homophobia in Colombia, Spain, and New York. Reviewer Teresa Ortega called the novel "nothing if not a deeply sacrilegious book--a rage against the patriarchal, death-dealing world the author and his protagonist find themselves in."

She further noted that "gay sex is for Santiago a touchstone of life force and grace" and that "Manrique excels at describing those moments in which an ardent sexual encounter with a stranger or the beauty of watching night fall over the Caribbean succeed in holding back the decay, desperation, and confusion of Santiago's everyday existence."

Manrique has also, in collaboration with Joan Larkin, translated the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in Sor Juana's Love Poems: In Spanish and English (1997). A poet in his own right, Manrique is also the author of five volumes of poetry. Los Adoradores de la luna ("Those Who Adore the Moon," 1976) won a national book award in Colombia. The other volumes are Scarecrow (1990), My Night with Federico García Lorca (1997), Mi Cuerpo y otros poemas ("My Body and Other Poems," 1999), and Tarzan / My Body / Christopher Columbus (2001). The middle section of the last is a dual-language version of the 1999 collection.

Critic David Rosen wrote in the Lambda Book Report that Manrique's poems "spark erotic and spiritual blazes" and are "poems to savor and contemplate for hours and hours."

Some of Manrique's poems celebrate the joy of sharing one's body with another in physical love; others, wrote Rosen, "map the utter heartache of uncertain, unrequited longing." Manrique also meditates on death in his poetry, reflecting on individuals like the poet Luis Cernuda, the explorer Christopher Columbus, and the gay martyr Matthew Shepard, the victim of a brutal homophobic murder.

Manrique has contributed to the short-story collection Bésame Mucho (1999), which he co-edited, and Whistler in the Nightworld: Short Fiction from the Latin Americas (2002, edited by Thomas Colchie). His story from the latter book, "The Documentary Artist," was given a dramatic reading by award-winning actor B. D. Wong in January 2005 in New York.

In Eminent Maricones Manrique describes his own early life and also discusses the lives and works of Reinaldo Arenas and Manuel Puig, both of whom he knew, and Federico García Lorca, whose work he began reading as a young man and came to appreciate more and more over the years. Reviewers praised the book, George Monteiro writing, "Working at the top of his literary form, Jaime Manrique gives us an engaging work that belongs, at least in part, to a tradition stretching back, in the history of English literature, to Johnson's Lives of the Poets and North's Plutarch."

Manrique's latest project is a biographical novel about Manuela Saenz, the mistress of the South American military hero Simón Bolívar. No publication date has been set.

Manrique is a frequent contributor of book reviews to the New York Times and the Washington Post. He has also taught writing and served as writer-in-residence at several colleges. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Columbia University. In December 2004 he participated in a Queer Writers of Color reading in celebration of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the organized glbtq community at Columbia.

At the end of Eminent Maricones Manrique writes, "From my earliest childhood . . . my life has been a struggle to find dignity as a maricón." He expresses gratitude to Puig, Arenas, and Lorca for setting examples that helped him become "a fulfilled human being." He hopes, in turn, that his book will "be an inspiration to all the maricones--and heterosexuals--who dream of being men and women capable of taking on whatever kind of windmill stands in their way."

Linda Rapp

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   Related Entries
  
literature >> Overview:  American Literature: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

After Stonewall, gay male literature became focused as a movement, aided by the development of gay newspapers, magazines, and quarterlies and the founding of serious gay and lesbian bookstores.

social sciences >> Overview:  Colombia

Although glbtq persons in Colombia continue to be the victims of discrimination and violent hate crimes because of their sexual orientation, civil rights progress has been made in recent years.

social sciences >> Overview:  Latina/Latino Americans

Latina/o glbtq communities in the U.S. pursue multiple visions, diverse politics, and a variety of struggles for identity and liberation; their efforts have helped shape the meaning of what it means to be queer and Latina and Latino in the U.S. and transnationally.

literature >> Overview:  Latino Literature

Latino gay men have published novels, poetry, drama, and essays that deal directly with gay themes, but the cultural forces of machismo and Catholicism have slowed the development of a Latino gay identity.

literature >> Arenas, Reinaldo

Persecuted for his homosexuality by the Castro government he had once championed, Cuban novelist, essayist, and poet Reinaldo Arenas challenged all types of ideological dogmatism.

literature >> Cernuda, Luis

Luis Cernuda, one of Spain's most important twentieth-century poets, expressed his homosexuality first indirectly and then explicitly in his poetry.

literature >> García Lorca, Federico

The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.

literature >> Gide, André

André Gide, one of the premier French writers of the twentieth century, reflected his homosexuality in many of his numerous works.

literature >> Puig, Manuel

Homosexual themes and motifs are suggested in a number of Manuel Puig's eight novels, and in the best known of them, Kiss of the Spider Woman, homosexual desire is central to the fiction.

social sciences >> Shepard, Matthew

Matthew Shepard led an unremarkable life, but his shocking death transformed him into an icon of the glbtq movement for equality.

literature >> Wilde, Oscar

Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.

arts >> Wong, B. D.

Asian-American actor B. D. Wong came to prominence with his extraordinary performance in M. Butterfly and has since established himself as a talented character actor in film and television and as a champion of glbtq causes.


    Bibliography
   

De Stefano, George. "Living La Vida 'Loca.'" The Nation 269.7 (September 6, 1999): 28.

Keehnen, Owen. "A Latino Voice: Talking with Colombian Author Jaime Manrique." (1993.) www.glbtq.com/sfeatures/interviewjmanrique.html.

Manrique, Jaime. Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999.

Monteiro, George. "Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. (Review)." Melus 26.1 (July 2001): 241.

Ortega, Teresa. "Twilight at the Equator." Lambda Book Report 5.10 (April 1997): 20-21.

Rosen, David. "Sacred Body, Ballsy Bard." Lambda Book Report 10.1 (July 2001): 25.

Seligman, Craig. "Latin Moon in Manhattan." Village Voice (May 12, 1002): S7.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Manrique, Jaime  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated June 28, 2005  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/manrique_j.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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