Synopses & Reviews
offers the most recent work by the well-known poet Ray Gonzalez. The poetry here is—at once—perhaps his most personal and most universal. At the heart of these lyrical, sometimes ethereal, poems is a deep sense of the mystery and even the divinity of our human lives. Although Gonzalez invokes the names of many poets who have come before him, including Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Robert Frost, Charles Wright, Allen Ginsberg, and Federico García Lorca, he writes in his own singular voice, one sculpted by the scorched and windblown landscapes of the American Southwest, by the complications of life in a borderland, by the voices of ancestors. With the confident touch of a master craftsman, he creates a new world out of the world we think we know. In his poems, the personal suddenly becomes the cosmic, the mundane unexpectedly becomes the sublime.
For Gonzalez, it seems, we humans can transcend the ordinary—just as these poems transcend genre and create a poetic realm of their own—but we never actually leave behind our rooted, earthbound lives. Although our landscape may be invisible to us, we never escape its powerful magnetism. Nor do we ever abandon our ancestors. No matter how fast or far we run, we can never outrun them. Like gravity, their influence is inexorable.
These poems enchant with their language, which often leaps unexpectedly from worldly to otherworldly in the same stanza, but they cling and linger in our memories—not unlike the voices of friends and relatives.
About 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.