Award-winning poet Gary Soto to read at 10th annual Morton Marcus memorial event

ucsc morton marcus poetry reading banner

Award-winning poet and novelist Gary Soto will be the featured guest at the 10th annual Morton Marcus Poetry Reading, Thursday, November 7, at 7 p.m. in the UC Santa Cruz Music Recital Hall.  

The event is held each year to honor poet, teacher, film critic, and Santa Cruz cultural icon Morton Marcus (1936-2009).

It was created to continue Marcus’s tradition of bringing acclaimed poets to Santa Cruz County, to acknowledge the significant role poetry has played in the community's history, and to help preserve poetry's influence in the county's culture.

UC Santa Cruz humanities lecturer and alumnus Gary Young--Santa Cruz's first ever poet laureate--will emcee the program and present a $1,000 prize to the winner of the annual Morton Marcus Poetry Contest.

One of today's most celebrated Chicano writers, Soto has published more than 40 books for children, young adults and adults, including Too Many Tamales, Chato’s Kitchen, Baseball in AprilBuried Onions and The Elements of San Joaquin.

He is also the author of In and Out of Shadows, a musical about undocumented youth and, most recently, The Afterlife, a one-act play about teen murder and teen suicide

Soto was nominated for the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for The Tale of Sunlight, his second collection of poems. His first poetry collection, The Elements of San Joaquin, received the 1976 United States Award from the International Poetry Forum. And his 1995 collection, New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

Soto’s poem “Oranges” has the distinction of being the most anthologized poem in contemporary literature. His books have sold four million copies nationally and have been translated into French, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and Spanish.

A recipient of the Discovery/The Nation Prize and the California Library Association's John and Patricia Beatty Award, Soto has also received multiple fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.

In 1995, he was selected NBC's Person of the Week for his work with young people. Soto has also been honored with the Human and Civil Rights Award from the American Education Association, the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the PEN Center West Book Award for his young-adult short story collection, Petty Crimes.

A book signing and reception will follow the reading. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested.

Presented by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz, this is a community event, co-sponsored by Ow Family Properties, Poetry Santa Cruz, the Cabrillo College English Department, Santa Cruz Writes, and Bookshop Santa Cruz, along with UCSC’s Living Writers Series, Porter Hitchcock Modern Poetry Fund, Special Collections & Archives, Cowell College, and Porter College.

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