UNPEOPLED EDEN by Rigoberto Gonzalez

Unpeopled Eden.jpg
Unpeopled Eden.jpg

UNPEOPLED EDEN by Rigoberto Gonzalez

5.99

84 Pages
©2013

Publisher: Four Way Books
Purchase includes: PDF

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Unpeopled Eden opens in Mictlán, the region of the dead in Aztec mythology, inviting us down into a world where “the men are never coming home” and “rows of ghosts come forth to sing.” Haunted by border crossers and forgotten deportees, lost brothers and sons, González unearths the beautiful and musical amidst the grotesque. These poems are prayer and memorial “for those whose / patron saints are longing and despair.”

Author of more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, including the acclaimed memoir Butterfly Boy (2006) and the short story collection Men without Bliss (2008), González dedicates his darkly elegant fourth book of poetry to the anonymous border crossers of the southwestern U.S. González writes with unrelenting honesty, composing long poems of successive septets, with an eye for vivid, brutal imagery: “Cut out the yellow heart of heaven, / drop the bloodless stars into the sea.” The collection’s centerpiece commemorates the fatal crash of a flight transporting Californian migrant workers to a deportation center, in the wake of which all 27 laborers were buried in a mass grave labeled only “deportees.” This injustice is at the root of González’ book, surfacing in haunting depictions of decay and detritus: dead lawns where “tricycles rise like gravestones,” and abandoned orchards where “fruit / lies flung like the beads from / a rosary.” With what may be his most ambitious collection yet, González reaffirms his role as a preeminent voice in Chicano poetics. --Diego Báez

“I marvel at Rigoberto’s groundbreaking new poetics—a rare, raw, lyrical, surreal, fearless, piercing tour de force.” (Juan Felipe Herrera)

Rigoberto González was born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. The son and grandson of migrant farm workers, he is the author of fifteen books and the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology of Alurista's poetry. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, winner of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Societry of America, the American Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Lambda Literary Award, he is contributing editor for Poets and Writers Magazine, on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is Professor of English at Rutgers--Newark, the State University of New Jersey. He lives in New York City.

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