Gary Soto: New and Selected Poems

Overview

For over two decades, the award-winning poet and author Gary Soto has been offering his readers a vision that transcends the ordinary, making him one of today's most celebrated Chicano writers. New and Selected Poems includes the best of his seven full-length collections, plus over 23 new poems previously unpublished in book form. From the charged, short-lined poems of Soto's early writing to an unflinching look at poverty and hard labor in California's Central Valley to the off-beat humor in his longer, more ...
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Overview

For over two decades, the award-winning poet and author Gary Soto has been offering his readers a vision that transcends the ordinary, making him one of today's most celebrated Chicano writers. New and Selected Poems includes the best of his seven full-length collections, plus over 23 new poems previously unpublished in book form. From the charged, short-lined poems of Soto's early writing to an unflinching look at poverty and hard labor in California's Central Valley to the off-beat humor in his longer, more recent work, New and Selected Poems is a timely tribute to a brilliant writer whose work confirms the power of the human spirit to survive and soar.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Soto is one of our most accomplished Mexican-American poets under the age of 45. In this collection, poems from six of his previous 13 books (The Tale of Sunlight; Home Course in Religion) and a sampling of new material define a youth of gritty determination and chronicle an ongoing negotiation with God. The earliest pieces, exploring Soto's rite of passage out of the California fields and orchards in which he labored, are still his best work, conveying a connection to land and wind and a desperateness that softens as he finds his way to marriage and a steady paycheck. In Soto's simple, short lines, these poems are as lean and avid as their protagonist, and they gather an impressive force with their quick rhythms and recurrent images: a hand encrusted with dirt, or an orangeits sudden bolt of color and its juice, the poet's manna. (May)
Library Journal
In one of his more striking poems, Soto stares longingly at the unkempt lot in the California slum where his family's house used to be. Elsewhere, a Mexican American simply jogs and laughs after he has been ushered out the back door when immigration officials show up at his workplace. With rare lyricism, gentleness, and a touch of humor, Soto covers the ground that leads many highly touted poets to erupt in pulsating anger. Soto has it allthe learned craft, the intrinsic abilities with language, a fascinating autobiography, and the storyteller's ability to manipulate memories into folklore. His images are startling: "We grin like shovels," "bitter as a penny." After reading these poems, we become extremely fond of the Catholic school boy experimenting with sin, raised in a home where there's "Holy water in the cupboard behind the jam/And a box of pretzels." While this collection is culled from six previous volumes, the recurring themes and imagery unique to each collection is preserved. Highly recommended.Rochelle Ratner, formerly Poetry Editor, "Soho Weekly News," New York
School Library Journal
YASoto's poems, like his novels and short stories, reflect the universality of the human condition as mirrored through his experiences in and strong ties to the Mexican-American community in California. Whether he is reliving a trip to the cemetery, a shopping excursion to the local market, or the nostalgia days of black-and-white TV, he presents each word, each line with power. Soto's language is spare and plain like the people and places he describes. Readers familiar with his short stories that speak of the many boundaries and borders that young people, especially migrants, must cross will recognize similar encounters here. An accessible addition to any contemporary poetry collection or literature class.Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School Library, Upper Marlboro, MD
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811807586
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 487,953
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Soto is one of today's most celebrated Chicano writers. He has received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and his New & Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Berkeley, California.
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