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.
Praise for Rigoberto González:
“Rigoberto Gonzalez is a poet of our time, and perhaps of our time to be.”
—Juan Felipe Herrera, 2015 U.S. Poet Laureate