To the Boy Who Was Night: Poems: Selected and New (Paperback)
The capstone of a quarter-century career in poetry, To the Boy Who Was Night collects the poetry published by Rigoberto González since 1999, including selections from five previous books as well as new work. Mirroring González’s personal trajectory, the arc of this work articulates the course of a life: these poems recall leaving a beloved homeland, confront masculinity and sexuality in new adulthood, imagine the earth devoid of human inhabitants, descend into the realm of ghosts, and return to arrive at Dispatches from the Broken World. This latest section ventures into foreign terrain — an autobiographical confrontation with isolation and the aging body. His lyrical exploration, like the weather reports scrawled on ancient temple walls, will preserve this age-old message: “likely a poem, surely an epitaph.” To the Boy Who Was Night bears the fruit of 25 years of poetry, González’s boldest and most comprehensive volume yet.
Rigoberto González lives in Newark, NJ and is the author of eighteen books of poetry and prose, including previous Four Way Books publications The Book of Ruin (2019), Unpeopled Eden (2013), and Black Blossoms (2011). His awards include Lannan, Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA, and USA Rolón fellowships, the PEN/ Voelcker Award, the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. A critic-at-large for the LA Times and contributing editor for Poets & Writers, he is the series editor for the Camino del Sol Latinx Literary Series at the University of Arizona Press. Currently, he’s Distinguished Professor of English and the director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey.
"Rigoberto González writes a richly detailed poetry, with strangely evocative landscapes, insightful appraisals of body and soul, and unpredictable narratives, sometimes set in Mexico, sometimes in California, sometimes places in his heart. His sense of wonder is magical and his personality evident — this is him, a poet who can claim a cadence like no other. A true and wildly engaging master." —Gary Soto
"How to deal with irreplaceable loss? Can poetry resurrect a lost culture? Can it be equal in force to the violence from which it arises? Rigoberto González has great compassion for the downtrodden, for those who do the terrible but necessary jobs. His genius is to bring alive the sensory experience that some paintings give us by a kind of synesthesia, so that we feel the poems in our skin and bones. In this stunning collection, a brilliant mind shapes a magical landscape from the ruins." —Toi Derricotte