Gary Soto

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 Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His recollections LIVING UP THE STREET received a Before Columbus Foundation 1985 AMERICAN BOOK AWARD. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review, Ontario Review and most frequently Poetry, which has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in Poets in Person. He is one of the youngest poets to appear in The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. He has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize, the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, The California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award [twice], a Recogniton of Merit from the Claremont Graduate School for Baseball in April, the Silver Medal from The Commonwealth Club of California, and the Tom's Rivera Prize, 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 opera titled 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. Altogether his 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 Professor of 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.)



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