Gary Soto

A Career in Poetry and Prose

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About the Book

In a 1995 interview, prolific Chicano writer Gary Soto noted, “Wonderment has always been a part of my life.” This book surveys Soto’s immense range of poems, stories, novels, essays and plays for audiences of prereaders to adults. Soto’s world moves from the cotton and beet fields of the San Joaquin Valley to the blue-collar barrios of Fresno, and to urban and suburban settings in Oakland and Berkeley. Chapters analyze a wide variety of Soto titles, from his breakout works like 1977’s The Elements of San Joaquin to the Chato the Cat illustrated books for children.
With self-deprecating humor, particularly in his poems, Soto combines his wonderment with the trials and conflicts that beset him throughout life. In such novels as Jesse, Buried Onions and The Afterlife, and in his stories for YA readers, including Baseball in April and Petty Crimes, his broad array of characters confront the anxieties and annoyances of adolescence. Although he continues to motivate young Chicanos to read and write, Soto stakes his greatest claims to literary prominence through his poems, which are accessible to readers of all ages.

About the Author(s)

Ron McFarland retired from the English department at the University of Idaho teaching there for nearly fifty years. His more than 20 books include collections of poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, literary criticism, biography, and memoir. He lives and writes in Moscow, Idaho.

Bibliographic Details

Ron McFarland
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 250
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8747-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4674-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction  1

Chapter One: Gary Soto Sings Himself  9

Chapter Two: The Poems, 1977–1985  30

Chapter Three: A Mélange of Genres, 1985–1992  57

Chapter Four: Fin de Siècle, 1993–2000  86

Chapter Five: The Good Citizen, 2001–2008  111

Chapter Six: Gary Soto in Performance  140

Chapter Seven: Not Sitting Still, 2009–2021  158

Chapter Eight: Conclusions  191

Chapter Notes  203

Bibliography of Works by Gary Soto  209

Works Cited by Chapter  212

Index  225