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Rigoberto Gopnzalez
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NYS Writers Institute, Friday, March 31, 2017
6:00 p.m. Reading | Fossieck Room, Milne Hall, 135 Western Ave., Downtown campus


Rigoberto González, Mexican American poet and prose writer, will deliver the English Graduate Student Conference Creative Keynote address, at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 31 in the Fossieck Room, Milne Hall, at 135 Western Avenue on UAlbany’s downtown campus.  Free and open to the public, the event is cosponsored by the UAlbany English Graduate Student Organization, English Department, Graduate Student Association, and the New York State Writers Institute.

Rigoberto González,
called “a poet of our time and perhaps, of our time to be” by current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is professor of English at Rutgers University/Newark and has authored four books of poetry, and ten books of prose. 

González’s books of poetry include Unpeopled Eden (2013), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and the 2014 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets, given for the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States each year; Other Fugitives and Other Strangers (2006); and So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until It Breaks (1999), which was chosen by the poet Ai for the National Poetry Series. Kwame Dawes, judge for the Lenore Marshall prize, praised Unpeopled Eden as “a work of signature authority, beauty, urgency and necessity….Rigoberto González is an important American poet, and Unpeopled Eden is a very, very important book.” 

González’s moving memoirs include Butterfly Boy, and Autobiography of My Hungers (2013). Praising Butterfly Boy Hazel Rochman, of Booklist, highlights many qualities that are equally true of González’s entire body of work when she observes: “This stirring memoir of a first-generation Mexican American’s coming-of-age and coming out is wrenching, angry, passionate, ironic, and always eloquent about conflicts of family, class and sexuality.” 

Kirkus called Butterfly Boy a “poignant, heartfelt memoir of a gay Latino immigrant’s coming-of-age, played out against a relentless backdrop of abuse and neglect,” where he “digs deep to reveal a tortured childhood as the son of poverty-stricken, functionally illiterate Mexican farmworkers.”  Library Journal described Autobiography of My Hungers as a “beautiful, unconventional memoir, infused with poetic language, [which] places González firmly in the top tier of American writers….not only aficionados of memoir, poetry, and Latin American and gay literature but also general audiences will enjoy these stories and poems.”

González received the 2015 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement given by The Publishing Triangle to writers within the LGBT community, an honor he shares with current New York State Author Edmund White, as well as 1991-93 New York State Poet Audre Lorde. His work has also been recognized with the 2011 Shelley Memorial Award for poetic achievement, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The English Graduate Student Organization is a collective of MA and PhD students working to enhance their peers’ graduate experience, promote collaboration between students and faculty, and prepare students for the profession of English studies.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) encourages and supports professional development, social, and intellectual interaction between all graduate students at the University at Albany.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst