Turtle Pictures

Overview

The rhythm of vision, the rhythm of dream, the rhythm of voices saturating the hot southwestern landscape. These are the rhythms of Ray Gonzalez, the haunting incantations of Turtle Pictures.

Gonzalez has forged a new Chicano manifesto, a cultural memoir that traces both his personal journey and the communal journey that Mexican Americans have traveled throughout this century, across this land. He interweaves lyrical poetry, prose poems, short fiction, and nonfiction commentary ...

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Overview

The rhythm of vision, the rhythm of dream, the rhythm of voices saturating the hot southwestern landscape. These are the rhythms of Ray Gonzalez, the haunting incantations of Turtle Pictures.

Gonzalez has forged a new Chicano manifesto, a cultural memoir that traces both his personal journey and the communal journey that Mexican Americans have traveled throughout this century, across this land. He interweaves lyrical poetry, prose poems, short fiction, and nonfiction commentary into a lush cacophony that traces the evolution of today's politically charged Chicano voices from the deafening silence of their ancestors.

Adopting the turtle as a metaphor for the Native American origins of border culture, Gonzalez frames this multitextured individual vision until it becomes a universal portrait of American life: a slow, ancient creature morphing into one of voracious rapidity. In wild and challenging surrealistic images, he hammers out a political statement from language that takes on a special urgency. Walking a fine line between lyricism and polemic, and succeeding where others have stumbled, he calls on Mexican Americans to return to their roots in order to avoid being swept up in American material culture.

Turtle Pictures is a complex body of work by a poet totally in tune with the spirit and nuances of language, imbued with a deep sense of craft and literary tradition. It invites readers to revel in its richness and vitality, to be caught up in its chantlike spirit, to luxuriate in its hauntingly beautiful passages. It is a work to devour, to savor, to return to, for it speaks with all the rhythms of the soul.

About the Author:

Ray Gonzalez is the author of Memory Fever, also published by the University of Arizona Press, as well as five volumes of poetry--including The Heat of Arrivals, winner of the 1997 PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award. He currently holds an endowed chair, the McKnight Land Grant Professorship, at the University of Minnesota.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Once an "accessible" poet, Gonzalez seems to be moving away from poems where a snake is a snake, and the desert wind a force of stark desiccation. The author of five books of poetry (From the Restless Roots; Twilights and Chants etc.), and the editor of several anthologies, Gonzalez here enters an abstracted terra incognita, "inside the canyon of time and disturbed thoughts," that proves a fruitful hunting ground for the poet, yielding a poetic sequence of temporally layered images drawn from indigenous creation myths. Divided into a first, second, and third "Shell," interspersed with "tortuga" (turtle) poems, Gonzalez has collaged together verse, bits of historical commentary, short fiction and prose poems. The work gradually moves toward a mythopolitical statement proclaiming that the time has come for Chicanos to return to their Aztec roots. Surreal images ("When the song enters, I escape from the grip of color") acquire a sort of accretive meaning, yet the whole does not quite come together convincingly. Nevertheless, Gonzalez's phantasmagoric bricolage of mythic Native American roots and political Chicano branches is often suggestive and inspiring. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
As a symbol of longevity, patience, endurance, and quiet strength, the turtle represents the thousands of Mexican Americans who have crossed the river separating their homeland from the United States, emerging unharmed and victorious on the opposite bank. The six sequenced segments of this anthology of poetry, prose poems, and short narratives are thematically interconnected yet stylistically uneven; the second section, "Chicano Tortuga Party," with snippets of contemporary Mexican American life, is probably the most immediately accessible. A prolific poet and respectable essayist and editor (Touching the Fire), Gonzalez attempts to capture the heart and hopes of the Mexican American soul in the cornucopia of literary forms but may lose readers with the hermetic imagery and occasional surreal meandering. Not an essential purchase except in those areas with strong Mexican American populations.--Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
From the Publisher

"Border Regional Library Association honors Ray Gonzalez for lifetime contributions to literature of the Southwest""Winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry""Gonzales here enters an abstracted terra incognita, 'inside the canyon of time and disturbed thoughts,' that proves a fruitful hunting ground for the poet, yielding a poetic sequence of temporally layered images drawn from indigenous creation myths. . . . Gonzalez's phantasmagoric bricolage of mythic Native American roots and political Chicano branches is often suggestive and inspiring." —Publishers Weekly"A language bath in which every word is perfectly chosen and placed. The text is multilayered, and the reader must dive beneath the surface to wring deepest meaning from these sometimes meditative, often surrealistic lyrics." —Multicultural Review"An amazing and beautifully written book. The poems work as well on the page as they do being read aloud." —Santa Fe New Mexican
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816519644
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Series: Camino del Sol
  • Pages: 178
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Ray Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota, he is the author of 14 books and has also edited more than a dozen anthologies of poetry and fiction and is the recipient of the Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
First Shell 1
Chicano Tortuga Party 43
Second Shell 73
Tortuga Borders 113
Third Shell 125
Year of the Tortuga Egg 157
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