Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition: Toward a 21st Century Poetics

Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition: Toward a 21st Century Poetics

by Rigoberto Gonzalez


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Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition gathers Rigoberto González’s most important essays and book reviews, many of which consider the work of emerging poets whose identities and political positions are transforming what readers expect from contemporary poetry. A number of these voices represent intersectional communities, such as queer writers of color like Natalie Díaz, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong, and Eduardo C. Corral, and many writers, such as Carmen Giménez Smith and David Tomás Martínez, have deep connections to their Latino communities. Collectively, these writers are enriching American poetry to reflect a more diverse, panoramic, and socially conscious literary landscape. Also featured are essays on the poets’ literary ancestors—including Juan Felipe Herrera, Alurista, and Francisco X. Alarcón—and speeches that address the need to leverage poetry as agency.

This book fills a glaring gap in existing poetry scholarship by focusing exclusively on writers of color, and particularly on Latino poetry. González makes important observations about the relevance, urgency, and exquisite craft of the work coming from writers who represent marginalized communities. His insightful connections between the Latino, African American, Asian American, and Native American literatures persuasively position them as a collective movement critiquing, challenging, and reorienting the direction of American poetry with their nuanced and politicized verse. González’s inclusive vision covers a wide landscape of writers, opening literary doors for sexual and ethnic minorities.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780472036974
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication date: 09/28/2017
Series: Poets on Poetry Series
Pages: 246
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Rigoberto González is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. He is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden, which won the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. Additionally, he has published children’s books, fiction, and nonfiction, including Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Among many honors, he has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award, and the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle. In 2017, González was selected as the inaugural Stan Rubin Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the Rainier Writing Workshop and as the Reid Writer at Fordham University for the 2017–2018 academic year.

Table of Contents

Critical Essays 1

Latino Poetry: Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition 3

Alurista: Toward a Chicano Poetics 17

The Twenty-First-Century Queer Chicano Poetics of Eduardo C. Corral 30

The Double Doors into J. Michael Martinez's Heredities 43

Hayden's Mexico 53

The Blatino Poetics of Aracelis Girmay 59

Insert [gay black] boy 73

Queer Immigrant World, Queer Immigrant Word 83

Mexica Warrior: The Amerindian Vision of Natalie Diaz 95

Critical Reviews 105

Publishers on a Mission: Three Excellent Debut Poets 107

Powerful Debuts by Three African American Poets 118

On Karankawa and The Animal Too Big to Kill 126

Midcareer: Three Poets and Their Four Books 134

Twelve Essential Latino Poetry Books 148

Juan Felipe Herrera's Global Voice and Vision 170

Critical Grace Notes 183

The Activist Role of the Writer 185

The Writer's Journey: A Motivation 194

Poetry Brings out the Mexican in Me 201

Unpeopled Edens 208

Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement Speech 216

Erotic Light, Amor Oscuro: On the Queer Poetics of Francisco X. Alarcón and His Muse, Federico García Lorca 220

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