“Here are the maps for a self of earth and cosmos interconnections, breath, existence and thought—for the new thinker, traveler, philosopher. Bravo, brava!“
—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus
by David Gonzalez
Soundings, the debut book of poetry by famed storyteller and musician David Gonzalez, is an eclectic collection that dives into five facets of his experience, each one adding a new layer of meaning and color: Nuyorican explores contemporary Latinx life; Rings of Fire, Ice and Jazz focuses on music and myth; Entanglement centers on science and wonder; Above, Below, In Between looks into the natural world; Back to the Beginning moves through birth, death, and redemption.
“El Barrio” by David Gonzalez, has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Please enjoy his performance of this powerful poem accompanied by The Poetic License Band.
ENJOY A VIDEO OF DAVID READING MORE POEMS FROM THE BOOK:
David Gonzalez — A Featured Poet on The Poetry Box LIVE (September 2022)
About the Author
David Gonzalez is a storyteller, playwright, and performer whose poetry has been featured at Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival, Bill Moyers’s documentary Fooling with Words, and NPR’s All Things Considered, and at universities and performing arts centers across the country. Oh Hudson, a long-form piece, was commissioned by the Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center to commemorate the Quadricentennial of Hudson’s exploration. City of Dreams, a spoken-word/Latin jazz project, commissioned by The University of Maryland and La MaMa, has toured throughout the U.S. David wrote the opera libretto for Rise for Freedom, as well as numerous plays, including The Man of the House (commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts); Mariel, an Afro-Cuban musical (commissioned by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); The Boy Who Could Sing Pictures, and many more. Mr. Gonzalez has toured widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. He received his doctorate in Music Therapy from New York University and has garnered numerous awards and commissions. He is a Joseph Campbell Foundation Fellow, has extensive experience supporting communities through the arts, and is a proud recipient of the International Performing Arts for Youth “Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence.”
David was the founder and Artistic Director of the Rockland County Storytelling Festival (1996–2006). For eight seasons he was the host of New York Kids (1992–2000), a high-energy live radio program on New York Public Radio WNYC-FM, where fun, fast-paced creativity and social relevance for children was the mission.
Gonzalez’s professional life began scholastically in the field of Music Therapy, where he earned undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees. For twenty years he worked at social service sites throughout the New York City area with disabled and medically ill children, as well as adult psychiatric patients. The joining of art and human services set the context for meaning in his life and shaped the artistic vision that continues to drive his creative work today.
He has published two books for young readers that are available on Amazon: Tío Jose and the Singing Trees and Tito and the Bridge Brigade. David lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York State.
Early Praise for Soundings:
Soundings—alarms and the radiating out of a new consciousness, an earth and cosmos in totality, a notebook of lives, ancestors, praise, familia and their reverberations and intrinsic pathways into and for each other. A book of chants and enlightenments, home spirit and space particles as One. As Gonzalez says in one of his poems, recognitions and transmissions—this is at the core of this collection. That is, to recognize all things and to live in the constant exchange of each. This is a most necessary voice and text, concerned with a profound, inspiring view of humanity—an investigation into our expansiveness, our magnificent reach into incredible songs of Being never imagined, yet to be lived. Here are the maps for a self of earth and cosmos interconnections, breath, existence and thought—for the new thinker, traveler, philosopher. Bravo, brava!
—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, Emeritus
Welcome to the birth of a poet! Of course, David Gonzalez has always been a poet; it shines through his work as a storyteller, musician, actor. But now, with Soundings, David the poet takes center stage, and what we find is poetry tough as the sidewalks of Nueva York, sweet as breeze in Boricua. We hear his own voice—autentico nuyoriqueño—where El Barrio, el finger-tip grip onto the American dream,/ where half the streets open wide to the horizon,/ and the other half are dead ends,/ y donde el ritmo no tiene fin,/ and the groove is deep. Soundings is a must for libraries where the groove is deep, where the rhythm never ends.
—Bob Holman, poet and founder of the Bowery Poetry Club
I come from saints and sinners, each left their mark says David Gonzalez in one of his poems and what may appear like an unproven declaration to invite you into his Soundings, becomes a statement of fact as soon as you walk through this book’s pages.
Actually, David is more than the unwitting descendant from holy and dark tribes, he has their eyes, and what he sees through them, forged in the fires of his poems, is this life of ours, a river of glories and regrets, navigated by his relatives and their spirited voices. A diary of sorts of what imperfect and impeccable souls taught him, and he shares intelligently and generously with us.
Gonzalez knows that entanglement was the only efficient way forward, how else a poet, even as talented as he is, could even begin to tell the truth about our world? That is his gift to us: to pull you like a moon in love with tides to celebrate our humanity, knowing full well he had to embrace the grief necessary to make this earth of troubles/ into a home.
These are the words of an unabashed soul whose birth had his big bang at a Niagara Falls motel,/ a kiss, a caress, a gasp, and we ought to be grateful for that motel where these Soundings began, grateful for their kiss, their caress, their gasp.
—Juan Pablo Mobili, poet, author of Contraband
Let there be a song of praise pleads the protagonist in “Gathering Waters” from Soundings, the inaugural poetry collection from decorated storyteller David Gonzalez. His exhilarating collection generously complies, turning up the radio and opening the windows wide on a wild-eyed road trip ranging from Cuba to Puerto Rico (I come from the graceful trajectories of quarks and uncertainty, I come from the snap of a finger long, long ago) to New York’s Spanish Harlem, aka El Barrio (the magnificent location of our mortal unwinding). Spending time with this Nuyorican poet’s work is akin to a fantastical gathering around a global firepit, a combustion of the magical tales, songs, and conversations that might ensue. With a voracious appetite for all of life’s shadings as well as its soundings, imbued with a heartfelt sense of the sacred for both family and place, Gonzalez waxes Whitmanesque as he enters the canon—effusive, exuberant, erudite—every mundane thing a poem in hiding, all senses on fire.
—Lissa Kiernan, author of The Whispering Wall