Our Lives Are Rivers

Mark Smith-Soto

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"Mark Smith-Soto is brilliant at depicting moments from the past. . . . A poet with such passion and skill will be heard from again."--Judith Hemschemeyer

Our Lives Are Rivers traces the spiritual journey of the Costa Rican-American poet, an unabashed lover and celebrator of life. Taking its title from the Spaniard Jorge Manrique's most famous elegy, this collection is a meditation on time, memory, and the fleeting nature of life. Smith-Soto exercises the artist's prerogative to give shape to his experience, reaching beyond the merely autobiographical to explore the rich complexities of his cultural heritage in lyrics as varied and technically accomplished as they are heart-felt.
Born in his father's hometown of Washington, D.C., and raised in Costa Rica until the age of eleven, Smith-Soto is representative of a large number of U.S. writers who fall outside the conventional definitions of the Hispanic. His poems are imbued with the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of his family-rich childhood in Costa Rica. Compelling and clear yet mysterious, his poems add a new and
passionate voice to the growing chorus of Latino American poets today.

Mark Smith-Soto is professor of romance languages at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has published two poetry collections: Green Mango Collage, winner of the North Carolina Writers' Network Persephone Chapbook Publication Prize, and Shafts, winner of the 2002 Randall Jarrell/Harperprints Poetry Chapbook Competition.

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" A beguiling compilation of innocence and experience"
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