cover image Gary Soto: New and Selected Poems

Gary Soto: New and Selected Poems

Gary Soto, Chronicle Books. Chronicle Books, $14.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0758-6

Soto is one of our most accomplished Mexican-American poets under the age of 45. In this collection, poems from six of his previous 13 books (The Tale of Sunlight; Home Course in Religion) and a sampling of new material define a youth of gritty determination and chronicle an ongoing negotiation with God. The earliest pieces, exploring Soto's rite of passage out of the California fields and orchards in which he labored, are still his best work, conveying a connection to land and wind and a desperateness that softens as he finds his way to marriage and a steady paycheck. In Soto's simple, short lines, these poems are as lean and avid as their protagonist, and they gather an impressive force with their quick rhythms and recurrent images: a hand encrusted with dirt, or an orange--its sudden bolt of color and its juice, the poet's manna. (May)