The University of Arizona

Advanced Search
Catalogs The Books The Store News and Events Contact
Turtle Pictures
By Ray Gonzalez
178 pp. / 6.12 in x 9.00 in / 2000
Paper (978-0-8165-1966-8)
  - Camino del Sol

Related Interest
  - Poetry

The rhythm of vision, the rhythm of dream, the rhythm of voices saturating the hot southwestern landscape. These are the rhythms of Ray Gonzalez, the haunting incantations of Turtle Pictures.
Border Regional Library Association honors Ray Gonzalez for lifetime contributions to literature of the Southwest

Winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry

Gonzales here enters an abstracted terra incognita, 'inside the canyon of time and disturbed thoughts,' that proves a fruitful hunting ground for the poet, yielding a poetic sequence of temporally layered images drawn from indigenous creation myths. . . . Gonzalez's phantasmagoric bricolage of mythic Native American roots and political Chicano branches is often suggestive and inspiring.

—Publishers Weekly

A language bath in which every word is perfectly chosen and placed. The text is multilayered, and the reader must dive beneath the surface to wring deepest meaning from these sometimes meditative, often surrealistic lyrics.

—Multicultural Review

An amazing and beautifully written book. The poems work as well on the page as they do being read aloud.

—Santa Fe New Mexican

Gonzalez has forged a new Chicano manifesto, a cultural memoir that traces both his personal journey and the communal journey that Mexican Americans have traveled throughout this century, across this land. He interweaves lyrical poetry, prose poems, short fiction, and nonfiction commentary into a lush cacophony that traces the evolution of today's politically charged Chicano voices from the deafening silence of their ancestors.

Adopting the turtle as a metaphor for the Native American origins of border culture, Gonzalez frames this multitextured individual vision until it becomes a universal portrait of American life: a slow, ancient creature morphing into one of voracious rapidity. In wild and challenging surrealistic images, he hammers out a political statement from language that takes on a special urgency. Walking a fine line between lyricism and polemic, and succeeding where others have stumbled, he calls on Mexican Americans to return to their roots in order to avoid being swept up in American material culture.

Turtle Pictures is a complex body of work by a poet totally in tune with the spirit and nuances of language, imbued with a deep sense of craft and literary tradition. It invites readers to revel in its richness and vitality, to be caught up in its chantlike spirit, to luxuriate in its hauntingly beautiful passages. It is a work to devour, to savor, to return to, for it speaks with all the rhythms of the soul.

Top of Page

(800) 621-2736
(520) 621-1441

© 2000 The University of Arizona Press
Main Library Building, 5th Floor
1510 E. University Blvd.
P.O. Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055