Gary Soto Quotes

Gary Soto Quotes…Born and raised in Fresno, California, is the author of thirteen poetry collections for adults, most notably NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Award and the National Book Award. He has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize and the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Award [twice], in addition to fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts [twice], and the Guggenheim Foundation. For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. In 1995, for his work with young people, he was selected NBC Person of the Week. In 1999 he was honored with the Human and Civil Rights Award from the American Education Association, the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the PEN Center West Book Award for his young-adult short story collection PETTY CRIMES. For the Los Angeles Opera, he wrote the libretto to the opera “Nerdlandia.” In all, his books have sold five million copies, with eight titles translated into French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Gary Soto Quotes

“Read constantly, read widely.”


“I drank that sentence and began to glow.”


“You can always spot bright people. They are reading a book.”


“This is what poetry means—language that surprises and keeps us on our toes.”


 “I turned to poetry to heal my little Valentine of a heart.”


“I was the first Chicano to write in complete sentences.”


“Because nothing should be wasted


In a world where sparrows work hard


To prove there is enough.”


“It appears these days I don’t have much of a life because my nose is often stuck in a book. But I discovered that reading builds a life inside the mind.”


 “I depend upon rhythm, not rhyme and meter, for a poetry cadence that will attract the musically conscious reader. Young readers—and older ones—should look for strong images. Images can be so satisfying and breathtaking.”


“After a day in the grape fields near Rolinda

A fine silt, washed by sweat,

Has settled into the lines

On my wrists and palms.

Already I am becoming the valley,

A soil that sprouts nothing

For any of us.”


 “The black asphalt wouls shimmer with vapors I had a theory about those vapors…not released by the sun but by a huge onion buried under the city. This onion made us cry… I thought about the giant onion, that remarkable bulb of sadness.””


“We know that we can use our mouths to communicate (or our hands, for that matter, such as in pointing), but to write even a simple letter—a thank you note, an invitation, a love letter, etc—takes creative effort, if not sincerity and purpose. Proper writing, not texting, makes us really think about what we say.”


Often my characters—a Jesus, a Hector, a Gloria—will be bilingual, or if not bilingual at least know enough Spanish to throw words and phrases into conversation. As a writer, I’m trying to capture the voice of my characters, who sometimes will speak in Spanglish…


Mine is literary, and mine has a story to tell about a little boy with gaps in his education who became a writer. I’m hoping that the visitor will be curious, not unlike when someone goes to another person’s house for the first time—you look around and learn something about that person. We’re curious creatures, right?


Poems written in rhyme and meter can be easily memorized, even longish poems. However, because I write in free verse, my lines are probably more difficult to take in, to absorb, to memorize. But I’m not seeking any students to memorize my poetry—heck, I don’t even know my poems. I’m hoping for a sentiment that will linger in the reader’s mind. Sentiment, or feeling, is so important to the reader…


It means handling words and images in an interesting way. All of us use words daily, unless of course we are the silent type. Everyday we say simple things like, “Gee, look at this tan of mine.” Or: “I feel sort of sad.” But say you wrote something like: “Our faces were the color of pennies,” and “Our souls are broken like jars.” The language becomes interesting and perks up our spirits and imagination. This is what poetry means—language that surprises and keeps us on our toes.


Clothes have failed me.”I”idmember the green coat that I wore in fifth and sixth grades when you either danced like a champ or pressed yourself against a greasy wall,bitter as a penny toward the happy couples.When I needed a new jacket and my mother asked what kind I wanted, I described something like bikers wear: black leather and silver studsr with enough belts to hold down a small town. \7e were in the kitchen, steam on the windows from her cooking. She listened so long while stirring dinner that I thought she understood for sure the kind I wanted. The 10 next day when I got home from school, I discovered draped on my bedpost a jacket the color of day-old guacamole.2 I threw my books on the bed and approached the jacket slowly, as if it were a stranger whose hand I had to shake. I touched the vinyl sleeve, the collar, and peeked at the mustardcolored lining.

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