Cover image for A summer life
A summer life
Soto, Gary.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, [1990]

Physical Description:
ix, 115 pages ; 22 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3569.O72 Z475 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Gary Soto writes that when he was five "what I knew best was at ground level." In this lively collection of short essays, Soto takes his reader to a ground-level perspective, resreating in vivid detail the sights, sounds, smells, and textures he knew growing up in his Fresno, California, neighborhood. The "things" of his boyhood tie it all together: his Buddha "splotched with gold," the taps of his shoes and the "engines of sparks that lived beneath my soles," his worn tennies smelling of "summer grass, asphalt, the moist sock breathing the defeat of basesall." The child's world is made up of small things--small, very important things. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.

Author Notes

Gary Soto was born April 12, 1952, and raised in Fresno California. He graduated from Roosevelt High School and attended Fresno City College, graduating in 1974 with an English degree. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Nation, Plouqhshares, The Iowa Review, Ontario Review and 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.

Soto 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 Tomás 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. Soto wrote the libretto for an opera titled Nerd-landia for the The Los Angeles Opera. 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. He serves as Young People's Ambassador for the California Rural Legal Assistance and the United Farm Workers of America.

Soto is the author of ten poetry collections for adults, with 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.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Soto offers a series of lyrically rendered, autobiographical short essays based upon his experiences growing up Chicano in California's San Joaquin Valley. As the vignettes proceed from childhood to adolescence, universal themes of friendship, family, and love are explored. In addition, the customs and concerns of a minority culture are highlighted. Deceptively simplistic and quietly powerful sketches from a gifted poet and storyteller. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Poet Soto ( The Tale of Sunlight ) here offers 39 brief essays about his years from age five to 17 in and around Fresno, Calif. In supple, evocative language he remembers quietly euphoric summer days spent in the shade of fruit trees, when the taps he fastened to his shoes--``kicking up the engine of sparks that lived beneath my soles''--were enough to keep him amused, and when an imaginary brake prevented the boy from speeding out of control. A favorite theme is childish fantasy, whether the rumor of a giant who ``lived nearby'' or a breeze that ``moved a hat-sized tumbleweed,'' and, without saying a word on the subject, Soto suggests the rich implications of imagination for the future writer. It is mostly his fondness for place that buoys memory up, with the sights, tastes and feelings of home and earth revealed in carefully chosen yet seemingly casual details: ``I ate like a squirrel with a burst of jaw motion''; ``Grandmother sipped coffee and tore jelly-red sweetness from a footprint-sized Danish.'' Soto the realist does not neglect his boyhood mischief, and his sly sense of humor is exercised throughout. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved