Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Gary Soto's eleventh book of poems for adults, HUMAN NATURE is full of arresting images and surprising scenarios--and probably more uncanny opening lines than in any book you'll read all year. These poems pretend to be "simple" portraits of remembered youth and of life at the other end, where a man is walking into old age. Yet their surface transparency gives way to burrowing (often troubling) insights. Over and over he finds arresting, surprising cause for pausing and looking further, deeper, in the motley comedy of street life and family life and the erotic realm of memory. There is comedy on almost every page, but also the sadness of perceived futility. As a poet, Soto's characteristic vantage is bemused and amused, both. He has long been praised for his rich descriptions and strange imaginative leaps; he is well known for poems of childhood that are really open and exposed, and his work has connected powerfully with teenaged readers and their teachers. New in HUMAN NATURE are the bittersweet poems of aging, as an artist wonders aloud how something as quiet and delicate as a poem can hold its own in the raucous, rude, careening mayhem of our national public life. What should a poet do? Keep singing, of course. The muse must be given homage, no matter how worn out she looks. And even in his bruised uncertainty, Soto always brings a distinctive verbal mischief and descriptive beauty to the task of praising our not always very pretty world.
About the Author
Gary Soto is a "multi-instrumentalist," lauded with praise for his prose and poetry and one of America's most prolific authors. Poet, memoirist, Young Adult and children's novelist, and biographer, Gary Soto has also published thirty-five books, including ten previous poetry collections for adults, notably New and Selected Poems (Chronicle, 1995), finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. Soto has been featured as NBC Television's Person-of-the-Week, and among his dozens of accolades are the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award. Soto lives in Berkeley and Fresno, California.