The Heat of Arrivals

Overview

In this, his fifth collection of poetry, Ray Gonzalez takes the reader to the heart of the Chicano and American Southwest experience. His is the voice of desert flowers, hardscrabble border cities, scorpions, snakes, adobes, petroglyophs, arroyos and mesas. The poems tell the stories of native peoples, invading Westerners, and the Chicano fathers and gradfathers who have long been silent.
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1996 Hard cover Good. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 90 p. American Poets Continuum.

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Overview

In this, his fifth collection of poetry, Ray Gonzalez takes the reader to the heart of the Chicano and American Southwest experience. His is the voice of desert flowers, hardscrabble border cities, scorpions, snakes, adobes, petroglyophs, arroyos and mesas. The poems tell the stories of native peoples, invading Westerners, and the Chicano fathers and gradfathers who have long been silent.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his fifth collection, Gonzales resurrects ghosts of long-dead Indians and Mexicans, mythic mountain men, relatives, snakes, scorpions, and lizards in his continuing exploration of Chicano heritage and self-identity. The Chicano and Native American references will be recognizable enough to non-Hispanics, but Gonzalez's frequent intensely personal allusions may prove less accessible. The sequence called "The Snake Poems," referring to an incident in which an adolescent Gonzalez failed to kill a deadly rattlesnake, grapple with this unresolved childhood conflict: "I go to the adobe house,/ regress into the snake boy I've hated." The final section, from which this collection's title is taken, is a departure. Here the recurring desert images give way to urban scenes; the search for self moves toward the creation of self, and the safety of simple language gives way to a somewhat tentative experimentation with incongruous grammar. The most vivacious poem in this sequence, "Praise the Tortilla, Praise Menudo, Praise Chorizo," reads like "Fern Hill" if Dylan Thomas could hang with the homeboys. It's a bittersweet prayer for a life consumed by time as quickly as one relishes spicy menudo: "our lives going down like the empty bowls/ of menudo with the chili piquin of our poetic dreams." This vibrant poem suggests the arrival of a new, unpredictable stage in Gonzalez's careerif he'd only exorcise those ancestral spirits, kill that snake and release the vato loco in him. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880238387
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Series: American Poets Continuum Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 90
  • Product dimensions: 6.23 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Watching a Film About Van Gogh on Christmas Eve 13
Black Ink Drawings 15
The Eagles in the Ashes 19
Watering My Chinese Elm 20
Pollen Paintings 21
In the Time of the Scorpion 22
Salamander 25
Song for the Lizard Painted on the Plate 26
Indian Pertroglyphs, Red Desert, Wyoming 27
The Mummy in the Witte Museum 28
The Olmec Hunchback 29
Black Stone Sculpture 30
In Peru, the Quechans Have a Thousand Words for Potato 31
Sueno De Mexico 32
Homage to Lucian Blaga 35
The Sustenance 43
Black Adobe 45
Eating the Snake 46
The Blue Snake 47
The Rattle 48
The Snake in Winter 49
I Knew Who I Was Before I Dreamed of the Snake 50
Rattlesnake Dance, Coronado Hills, 1966 51
Three Snakes, Strawberry Canyon, Berkeley 54
Snakes as a Gift for My Aching Shoulder 56
The Grandfather 59
Snakeskin 60
The Past 63
Memory of the Hand 65
The Cathedral of My Father 67
How? 68
Four Times the Feast 69
Without 71
Odes to the Family of Spiders 73
Never 76
Fathers 77
The Energy of Clay 78
The Heat of Arrivals 83
Praise the Tortilla, Praise Menudo, Praise Chorizo 85
The Toy 86
Late Night Moon 88
Years Later 90
The Magnets 91
Was Federico Garcia Lorca Lonely in New York? 93
These Days 95
"I Haven't Any Bread and Will Live a Long Life" 97
Easter Sunday 1988, the Grand Canyon, Arizona 98
The Owl's Mask 99
Acknowledgements 100
About the Author 103
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