In this collection, which the poet calls his ""rebirth in the search for home,"" Ray Gonzalez expresses the gentle, humble intelligence that has made him a leading voice in Latino letters. He shares with the reader the voice of a soul searcher who has passed through middle age and still vibrates with passion for the world.
Gonzalez shows his profound respect for other people, species, places, elements, and histories. Illusions to religious imagery knock against those of the natural world-feathers and rocks-creating a complex tableau of objects and feelings. Employing the image-driven approach for which he is renowned, in this collection Gonzalez is taut, using poetics that are fully formed. Even as the poems weave together highly intellectual, refined subject matter, the language remains accessible.
The book is divided into three parts. The first section offers Gonzalez's most personal work yet, meditating on aging, forgetting, and the reader. The next section is more outward looking, as Gonzalez takes on great artists from both Old World and New World traditions. Finally, in the last section, Gonzalez opens himself up, reflecting in very personal ways on the everyday, such as a return from a hospital stay or a visit to the doctor.
Soul Over Lightning weaves together elements of Native American and Chicano/a narratives, inspired by the landscape of the desert Southwest and the experience of living on the border. It offers a new supernarrative that lifts spirits and yet remains grounded in a timeless search for home and truth.
Ray Gonzalez is the author of fourteen books and also has edited more than a dozen anthologies of poetry and fiction. He is the recipient of the Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Latino Heritage Award, and the Minnesota Book Award. He is a professor of literature at the University of Minnesota.