A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
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.
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.
Read: Rigoberto Gonzalez piece in the LA Times Link | 3/23/2017