The title: “The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica” is, perhaps, about a place that the speaker visits frequently.
The poem describes a store where Latinos gather. Despite their differences, many Latinos in the United States find themselves connected by their experiences and life in America. The speaker describes this shared experience of nostalgia.
The poem expresses both uniqueness and individuality among Hispanic backgrounds. It also conveys a complex feeling of homesickness and nostalgia, and how these feelings are mediated through the food the deli sells.
Ortiz Cofer achieves her tone with words that suggest a strong tie to the past, such as ancient, exiles, lost lovers, stale, old man, and “places that now exist only in their hearts”. Her word choice presents an attitude of longing for something that once was. The tone is nostalgic for the past and for the cultures of the people in the poem.
No shift occurs.
After reading the poem my interpretation of the title was correct. The speaker romanticizes a Latino deli where members from various Hispanic backgrounds gather.
The theme of the poem is one of unity; despite coming from various background, their common language and their experience as immigrants create a bond for among these Latinos in the United States.