poetry by John Olivares Espinoza
In his first book-length collection of poetry, award-winning poet John Olivares Espinoza defies the common portrayal of the typical Southern Californian and depicts a humbler yet deeply touching reality for one working-class family that struggles to make ends meet and save for the children's education. The poems in The Date Fruit Elegies elegantly yet accessibly chronicle the family's experiences in Southern California's Coachella Valley: a mother and her boys share a meal of two cheeseburgers, ever mindful to save a piece for a future meal; two wage-earning teen boys take a late-night odyssey in search of a dinner other than cheese and vanilla pudding; a college student spends eight hours kneeling next to his landscaper father, helping to pull weeds. Dignified and never sentimental, these poems create vivid imagery that does not soon fade from the reader's mind.
John Olivares Espinoza received Bachelor of Arts degrees in sociology and in creative writing from the University of California at Riverside and an MFA from the Arizona State University Virginia G. Piper Center's poetry program. The author of two chapbooks, Gardeners of Eden (Chicano Chapbook series, 2000) and Aluminum Times (Swan Scythe Press, 2002), he now teaches at the National Hispanic University in San Jose, California.