Rigoberto González


Rigoberto González was born in Bakersfield, California and raised in Michoacán, Mexico. He earned a BA from the University of California, Riverside and graduate degrees from University of California, Davis and Arizona State University. He is the author of several poetry books, including The Book of Ruin (2019); Unpeopled Eden (2013), winner of a Lambda Literary Award; and So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water until It Breaks (1999), a National Poetry Series selection. He has also written two bilingual children’s books, Antonio’s Card (2005) and Soledad Sigh-Sighs (2003); the novel Crossing Vines (2003), winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Fiction Book of the Year Award; a memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa (2006), which received the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; and the book of stories Men without Bliss (2008). He has also written for The National Book Critics Circle's blog, Critical Mass; and the Poetry Foundation's blog Harriet. The recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, The Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle, and the PEN/Voelcker Award, González writes a Latino book column for the El Paso Times of Texas. He is contributing editor for Poets & Writers, on the Board of Directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and on the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chicano/Latino activist writers.  González is a professor of English and director of the MFA Program in creative writing at Rutgers University–Newark. He lives in New York City. Source


in the village

of your birth

cuts a wall

bleeds a border


in the heat

you cannot swim

in the rain

you cannot climb


in the north

you cannot be

cuts a paper

cuts a law


cuts a finger

finger bleeds

baby hungers

baby feeds


baby needs

you cannot go

you cannot buy

you cannot bring


baby grows

baby knows


seasons bring


winter border

summer border

falls a border

border spring





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Poems of Place

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same


A stanza made of four lines.