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The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande

The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande

by Ray Gonzalez

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An essential collection of the Chicano and Southwestern literary canon.


An essential collection of the Chicano and Southwestern literary canon.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This seventh set of poems from Gonzalez (The Heat of Arrivals, etc.) seeks the pre-Columbian past, the newsworthy present and the envisioned future, imagining a varied cast of characters, among them Spanish explorers, Hopi priests, undocumented Mexican workers, European surrealists and the poet himself. Gonzalez grew up in El Paso, Tex., and that border city's tri-cultural matrix (Mexican and Mexican- American; Southwest Native American; Anglo) informs the historical inquiries many poems carry out: in "Abo National Monument, New Mexico," Gonzalez examines "Ruins for the sake of fighting time,/ not letting them go because we need to know/ how the low walls transcribed death...." Elsewhere, Gonzalez explores the present-day frontera or adopts the stance of an otherworldly prophet, calling down the "knotted fire of what does not speak." These free-verse poems of history and geography (among them the stanzas that give the volume its title) often sound both compelling and uneasy, as Gonzalez's speaker comes off as at once inquisitive, angry and shy. He seems at ease, by contrast, in the (perhaps less original) poems of private tenderness with which the volume concludes, where "love as lyric practice" evokes "the way you spin crushed herbs in the air." Trying always for sincerity, never for mere journalism or autobiography, Gonzalez can sound unduly circuitous, or simply talky, though he can also achieve conversational subtlety. His non sequiturs and deliberately simple diction can evoke Pablo Neruda (and Neruda's American fan James Wright, whom one poem names); applying those writers' techniques to his own Southwest, Gonzalez has at his best done something quite new. (May) Forecast: Though much of his work concerns the Mexican border, Gonzalez now teaches at the University of Minnesota. Expect media attention in both regions and from Latino sources nationwide. Gonzalez's work at the Bloomsbury Review and his prize-winning book-length poetic essay, Turtle Pictures (2001), may also draw readers to his newest poems. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

BOA Editions, Ltd.
Publication date:
American Poets Continuum Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Ray Gonzalez has authored numerous books of poetry, non-fiction, and fiction, and edited twelve anthologies. He is poetry editor for The Bloomsbury Review, and founding editor of the poetry journal Luna. He is a full professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

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