Author Spotlight: Gary Soto
Gary Soto is an acclaimed poet who is best-known for his work that revolves around the lower-class urban experience. His writing also dismantles many stereotypes around Mexican-Americans and allows readers to gain a better understanding about the racism that minorities face in America today.
Soto was born in Fresno, California in April of 1952 to working-class Mexican-American parents. He graduated with an MFA from the University of California and he has been the recipient of both the Carnegie Medal and the United States Award of the International Poetry Forum.
Some of Soto’s best poetry involves faithfully recreating the “barrio,” or the urban Spanish-speaking neighborhoods in which he grew up. He has taken the sights and sounds of his childhood and given them new life in both his poetry and prose. His work also points out the many struggles born out of racism that Mexican-Americans suffer through. However, Soto does add that certain values, emotions, and everyday experiences transcend race and can be understood by all, no matter what their ethnicity is.
In One Kind of Faith, Soto’s work ranges from pondering the emotion of sadness to exploring urban life. He uses his Fresno hometown as a jumping-off point to explore the wondrous items that populate our everyday life and looks at how our world is ever changing. For example, Berkley Dogs is a witty look at the differences between the raggedy mutts of his childhood versus the pampered pooches that are owned by the rich.
Soto’s work makes for quite the enjoyable read on a rainy day, especially since his poems can go from witty to sad to profound and back again.