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Why I Don't Write Children's Literature
Gary Soto

2015 • 216 pp. 4 1/2 x 7 1/2"
Essays / Memoir / Biography - Writers

$14.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-711-8
$12.99 Ebook, 978-1-61168-712-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Gary Soto—poet, fiction writer, playwright—is also one of our foremost writers of the personal essay. Soto’s prose—concise and inventive—shines with brio... [continued in Reviews below]”—Christopher Buckley,

The beloved writer returns to entertain in a fresh collection of essays

Gary Soto is a poet and, in his previous writing life, author of children’s literature. Moreover, he is an essayist whose works, such as Living Up the Street, A Summer Life, and What Poets Are Like, were celebrated for their openness and vivid image-making. In this collection, the poet again offers prose that is robust, confessional, and peculiar in its observations. He addresses time. He considers aging. If each day of the week represented a decade, then Soto is now cruising late Saturday afternoon. As the clock’s gears relentlessly grind, he’s soon on Sunday—but Sunday morning! He still has time to enjoy the world about him.

Soto is a master essayist. His sharply refined sentences are worth a second read, and often a pencil in hand. Soto’s world is quirky, captured in narrative that will soften readers with laughter and empathy. Like many boomers, he laments his sense of failure. Like them, he shrugs off that failure to recast his remaining years. He befriends daffodils, praises theater and tribute bands, and snuggles up with his wife of nearly forty years. This book is short enough to read in one sitting on the couch and encourages a second reading with deeper pleasure in bed.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Gary Soto—poet, fiction writer, playwright—is also one of our foremost writers of the personal essay. Soto’s prose—concise and inventive—shines with brio, humility, and humor. . . . These essays click whether taking on political correctness, conceptual art, gardening, or the vicissitudes of the writer’s life.”—Christopher Buckley

“Beneath it all shimmers a certain undercurrent of magic, one I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Some of the stories, particularly the shorter ones like ‘Haggling Over Watermelons’ and ‘Mexican Migrant,’ read almost like poetry and, although pondering seemingly simple, everyday events, seem to carry the most weight. Others, like “Why I Stopped Writing Children’s Literature” and “Committee Meetings’ and ‘A Dog Story Featuring Geese,’ stab direct and deep, illuminating the darker moments of an otherwise bright life. . . . The travesty here is that Soto has not succeeded in showing why he no longer writes children’s literature, but has in fact shown why he should.”—LitReactor

GARY SOTO’S first book of poetry, The Elements of San Joaquin, published in 1977, was hailed as the pioneering book in Chicano literature. Other poetry collections followed. His poem “Oranges” is the most anthologized poem in contemporary literature. His work has sold in the millions and has been translated into many languages. The Gary Soto Literary Museum is located at Fresno City College, where he began to write in spring of 1972.

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:19:47 -0500