Gary Soto

April 1952
Fresno, California

Gary Soto was born in Fresno, California, in April 1952. His parents were working-class Mexican-American parents. When he was little he use to work in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley. He was not so good in school as a child, but became interested in poetry during his high school years.

Gary Soto was influenced by a a lot of poets. Like Pablo Neruda and Edward Field. Soto writes poems that focus on daily experiences. These poems were often what his life was like in Chicano.

Saturday At The Canal

I was hoping to be happy by seventeen.
School was a sharp check mark in the roll book,
An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team
Was going to win at night. The teachers were
Too close to dying to understand. The hallways
Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus,
A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday,
Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves
By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground
And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard
On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,
Hitchhike under the last migrating birds
And be with people who knew more than three chords
On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke,
But our hair was shoulder length, wild when
The wind picked up and the shadows of
This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car,
By the sway of train over a long bridge,
We wanted to get out. The years froze
As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water,
White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.

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