Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition
Toward a 21st Century Poetics
Rigoberto González examines the work of the most celebrated contemporary voices shaping the politics of poetry in the new millennium
Pivotal Voices, Era of Transition gathers Rigoberto González’s most important essays and book reviews that consider the work of emerging poets whose identities and political positions are transforming what readers expect from contemporary poetry. Many 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. This much needed look at diverse voices also features essays on the poets’ literary ancestors including Juan Felipe Herrera, Alurista, Francisco X. Alarcón, and speeches that address the need for poetry as agency.
This book fills a glaring gap in contemporary literary scholarship. Very little existing poetry scholarship focuses exclusively on writers of color, particularly Latino poetry—a field in which González is considered an authority. The book makes important observations about the relevance and urgency of the work coming from writers representing marginalized communities, many of whom will undoubtedly become the most influential voices of their generation. González is the first to identity them as such and to illustrate why their work is as exquisitely crafted as it is socially resonant. He also makes important connections between the Latino, African American, Asian American and Native American literatures by positioning 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.
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