GARY SOTO, born and raised in Fresno California, is the author
of ten poetry collections for adults, most
notably NEW AND
SELECTED POEMS, a 1995 finalist for both the
Times Book Award and the National Book Award.
recollections LIVING UP THE STREET received a
Columbus Foundation 1985 AMERICAN BOOK AWARD.
poems have appeared in many literary magazines,
The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review,
and most frequently Poetry, which has honored
him with the
Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by
in Poets in Person.
He is one of the youngest poets to appear in
Anthology of Modern Poetry. He has received the
Nation Prize, the U.S. Award of the
International Poetry Forum,
The California Library Association's John and
Award [twice], a Recogniton of Merit from the
Graduate School for Baseball in April, the
Silver Medal from The
Commonwealth Club of California, and the Tom's
in addition to fellowships from the
Guggenheim Foundation, the
National Endowment for the Arts (twice), and
the California Arts
Council. For ITVS, he produced the film The
Pool Party, which
received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. For
the The Los
Angeles Opera, he wrote the libretto for an
Nerd-landia. In 1999 he received the
Literature Award from the
Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the
Author-Illustrator Civil Rights
Award from the National Education
Association, and the PEN
Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes.
books for adults and young people have sold
over a million
copies. He edits the Chicano Chapbook
Series, is a member of
the Royal Chicano Navy, and is Distinguished
Creative Writing at UC Riverside. He serves
on several boards,
including Arte Amhrricas, and La Galercenter
a de La Raza, and is a
member of the Royal Chicano Navy. He lives in
Berkeley, CA. (For more information, see the Gary Soto web site.)
HOW THINGS WORK
Today it's going to cost us twenty dollars
To live. Five for a softball. Four for a book,
A handful of ones for coffee and two sweet rolls,
Bus fare, rosin for your mother's violin.
We're completing our task. The tip I left
For the waitress filters down
Like rain, wetting the new roots of a child
Perhaps, a belligerent cat that won't let go
Of a balled sock until there's chicken to eat.
As far as I can tell, daughter, it works like this:
You buy bread from a grocery, a bag of apples
From a fruit stand, and what coins
Are passed on helps others buy pencils, glue,
Tickets to a movie in which laughter
Is thrown into their faces.
If we buy goldfish, someone tries on a hat.
If we buy crayons, someone walks home with a broom.
A tip. a small purchase here and there,
And things just keep going. I guess.
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Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:28:44 EDT