Author to visit LMC

Josh Wood, [email protected]

Acclaimed author Gary Soto is set to present at the Los Medanos College campus in the Recital Hall from 2:30 pm to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. Soto will perform several of his own poems and works to students at LMC, and will be selling and signing two of his books, “Meatballs for the People: Proverbs to Chew On” and “The Spark and Fire of It”, at discount prices.

Soto, a California native, is well known for his poem “Oranges”. Centered around a first date, “Oranges” is “the most anthologized poem in contemporary literature” according to a poster from the Office of Student Life.

Soto focuses fairly heavily on everyday experiences in his works. English Professor JoAnn Hobbs commented, “for many years, English instructors taught “Jesse”, one of Soto’s novels, in one of our reading and composition courses…” Hobbs noted that, despite the novel being set in the 70s, students identified with the protagonists, and “could relate to the characters and story.”

Hobbs mentioned that Soto, in addition to speaking about his own literature, hopes to use “part of his presentation… to reach out to Mexican-American students, in particular, to counter the message that many are hearing from Washington D.C. these days.”

In fact, much of Soto’s work also focuses on the relationship to American culture as a Mexican-American, as well as Mexican-American culture itself.

Soto’s most famous works are his many books for children and young adults, although he produces work for all audiences. Meatballs for the People: Proverbs to Chew On focuses on short poems structured like proverbs, most of which range in length from 1-3 lines and offer tidbits of wisdom, although some flip well-known proverbs on their heads.

The Spark and Fire of It is a short, one-act romance about two teens that are enamored with one another, and a father who does not approve of the boy pursuing his daughter. It blends Shakespearean style and vocabulary with modern slang to create a collage of Soto’s own work. In total, Soto has published more than 40 books throughout his career and sold more than 4 million copies nationwide.

For more information, visit the Office of Student Life, email them at [email protected] or call them at (925) 473-7554.