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Black Blossoms Paperback – October 11, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


STARRED REVIEW- “The poems in Gonzalez’s third collection are rooted in the female body. Death and decay also thread through the collection, manifesting in lush and sensuous imagery. In the title poem, Gonzalez addresses barren women in dark, graphic language that borders on the grotesque: “when the sun sets next it will// blossom with the blackest mushrooms and the moths/ will lay their eggs on your leathery smiles.” Gonzalez’s poems depict the body as a space that carries burden and loss, the site of a fleeting life: “this is the part where the woman enters./ This is the part where she leaves. Her life/ so quick it could have been missed had she left no evidence of the blackbird to construct/ its nest.” Each of us is insignificant and replaceable, Gonzalez seems to say: “borrowed body, in the time you must vacate,// let another take your space./ Don’t worry about whom or when since the girl/ who comes after is already here.” The last section (of four) is told through the voices of the female characters surrounding a mortician. Lust and marriage, birth and death, weave together in their observations and confessions. The mortician’s wife observes, “sound is death because it’s/ irretrievable and every time I speak I die a little more.””—Publisher’s Weekly

This third book of poetry by González, an award-winning Chicano writer equally at home in fiction (Crossing Vines) and children’s literature, complements the male subjects of his Other Fugitives and Other Strangers by focusing on female bodies. The first part, “Mundo de Mujeres” (World of Women) poeticizes women on the fringe of society. Some lines conjure up graphic, arresting visions: “The heavy snow disrobes the landscape of its mountains.” ... [This collection] will appeal to fans of contemporary poetry—Library Journal


“Black Blossoms taps into the waters of Lethe, as a bower uniting desire and mortality, history and the present, in tones alternately rapturous and threnodial. González alights on the darkest and most alluring flowers, “the beauty and grief of life,” and draws us down into its intoxicating sweetness.” ” (D. A. Powell)

More About the Author

Rigoberto González was born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. The son and grandson of migrant farm workers, he is the author of fifteen books and the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and Xicano Duende: A Select Anthology of Alurista's poetry. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, winner of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Societry of America, the American Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, and the Lambda Literary Award, he is contributing editor for Poets and Writers Magazine, on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is Professor of English at Rutgers--Newark, the State University of New Jersey. He lives in New York City.

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