In this Book

Soul Over Lightning
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summary
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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Copyright
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
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  1. Part One
  2. pp. 3-4
  1. I Slept in a Cave
  2. pp. 5-6
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  1. The Bird
  2. p. 7
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  1. Du Fu in Early Winter
  2. p. 8
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  1. Vertigo
  2. p. 9
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  1. Comfort
  2. p. 10
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  1. The Road
  2. p. 11
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  1. The Miracle
  2. pp. 12-13
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  1. Drawing the Owl
  2. p. 14
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  1. Notebook
  2. p. 15
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  1. Several Beliefs
  2. pp. 16-19
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  1. Strength at Aguirre Springs, New Mexico
  2. pp. 20-21
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  1. The White Hair
  2. p. 22
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  1. The Secret Book of Sand
  2. p. 23
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  1. Amarma
  2. p. 24
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  1. For the Convenience of the Reader
  2. pp. 25-26
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  1. Part Two
  2. pp. 27-28
  1. West of West
  2. pp. 29-32
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  1. Eyes of a Saint
  2. p. 33
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  1. Defend the Day
  2. p. 34
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  1. Gluing Photographs of the PetroglyphsInto My Scrapbook
  2. p. 35
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  1. Staring at Rodin
  2. pp. 36-37
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  1. I Stepped on the Head of Man Ray
  2. p. 38
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  1. The Face of the Beggar
  2. p. 39
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  1. Memory House
  2. p. 40
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  1. Dark Star
  2. p. 41
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  1. Origin
  2. p. 42
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  1. A Made Place That Is Mine
  2. p. 43
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  1. They
  2. p. 44
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  1. Cesar Vallejo and the Mule
  2. p. 45
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  1. South Past Albuquerque, Guided by Rain
  2. p. 46
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  1. The Distance Between Two Rooms
  2. p. 47
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  1. The Second Miracle
  2. p. 48
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  1. The Ghost at San Elizario, Texas
  2. p. 49
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  1. Is This It?
  2. p. 50
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  1. Blame
  2. p. 51
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  1. Family of Water
  2. p. 52
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  1. At the Time of the Armistice
  2. p. 53
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  1. Joseph Cornell’s Diary Entry One Day After I Was Born, September 21, 1952
  2. p. 54
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  1. Part Three
  2. pp. 55-56
  1. After Reading Octavio Paz
  2. p. 57
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  1. The Clay Jars
  2. p. 58
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  1. The Mathematics of Ecstasy
  2. p. 59
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  1. Max Jacob’s Shoes
  2. pp. 60-61
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  1. The Third Miracle
  2. p. 62
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  1. The Owl
  2. p. 63
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  1. Murmur
  2. p. 64
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  1. Somewhere North of Las Cruces
  2. p. 65
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  1. Keep
  2. p. 66
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  1. The Flat Desert
  2. p. 67
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  1. Your Hands
  2. p. 68
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  1. Save Twilight
  2. p. 69
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  1. He Calls His Dog Rimbaud
  2. p. 70
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  1. Rufino Tamayo
  2. p. 71
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  1. Invisible
  2. p. 72
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  1. The Fourth Miracle
  2. pp. 73-74
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  1. Hollow Ground
  2. p. 75
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  1. The Poet at the Tree
  2. p. 76
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  1. Beautiful
  2. p. 77
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  1. Balata
  2. p. 78
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  1. Soul Over Lightning
  2. p. 79
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 80
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