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by Jeremy Taff

Sent by: WOODS From: SLOT To: PRODUCTION When: 09/28/98 20:03:55

Typically alone and wandering through the southwestern American desert as a child, new University professor and poet Ray Gonzalez said his past prepared him to be a writer.
Gonzalez has come a long way from those lonely beginnings. The English department’s Creative Writing program hired Gonzalez this summer and he anticipates the release of his fifth book of poetry this January.
The addition of Gonzalez doubles the number of poets in the program. English professor Michael Dennis Browne, who Gonzalez said he has admired for a long time, has been the lone poet since 1971, before Gonzalez even began writing poetry.
“It’s been a long goal of the program to have another poet,” said Leslie Cooney, program coordinator for the Creative Writing program. “We’re thrilled to have himMD+BO MD+BOamongMD-BO us.”
Gonzalez will join forces with Browne this winter teaching an honors section of Introduction to Modern Poetry and a poetry-writing seminar for graduate students.
Gonzalez’s first classes at the University coincide with the release of his new book. Gonzalez said the collection of poems, entitled “Cabato Sentora,” outlines changes in his homeland from the desert beginnings of his childhood.
“The desert is no longer as isolated,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve been gone from the Southwest for almost 25 years and this book looks back on the area, shows how things have changed and how the Southwest is at the turn of the century.”
Born in El Paso, Texas, Gonzalez moved to Denver, Colo., while in his early 20s. That’s where he learned to write poetry, Gonzalez said, when the right teacher unlocked his potential.
“Actually, I started in journalism, in high school and as an undergraduate,” Gonzalez said. “But in the early ’70s, I met a poet who was also a really good teacher who opened my eyes to poetry.”
Gonzalez said since then he hasn’t been able or wanted to stop writing poetry.
“Poetry is more like an individual person’s response to the world,” Gonzalez said. “But most important of all, I want students to see how poetry really comes from the language of everyday life. I want students to see that they can write about whatever they want and they’ll find an audience.”
Gonzalez’s work caught the attention of the English department.
“I certainly welcome his coming,” English professor Kent Bales said. “He has made available a wide allotment of poetry by Latino writers through the anthologies that he has created.”
Gonzalez comes to the University from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he taught as an assistant professor of English and Latin American Studies.LBRV63 LBLGLOG LBCD07CE091C LBCT0E0A0736 LBAULOG LBMD07CE091C LBMT14033043 LBRP LBPJ LBCM LBKY