Our Lives Are Rivers traces the spiritual journey of the Costa Rican-American poet, an unabashed lover and celebrator of life. Taking its title from the Spaniard Jorge Manrique's most famous elegy, this collection is a meditation on time, memory, and the fleeting nature of life. Smith-Soto exercises the artist's prerogative to give shape to his experience, reaching beyond the merely autobiographical to explore the rich complexities of his cultural heritage in lyrics as varied and technically accomplished as they are heart-felt. Born in his father's hometown of Washington, D.C., and raised in Costa Rica until the age of eleven, Smith-Soto is representative of a large number of U.S. writers who fall outside the conventional definitions of the Hispanic. His poems are imbued with the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of his family-rich childhood in Costa Rica. In compelling language that communicates clearly without sacrificing mystery, his poems contribute a new and passionate note to the growing chorus of America's Hispanic poetry. port.