Unpeopled Eden (Four Way Books, (October 2013) is the fourth collection of poetry by Associate Professor Rigoberto González. It opens in Mictlán, the region of the dead in Aztec mythology, inviting readers into a world where “the men are never coming home” and “rows of ghosts come forth to sing.” “Haunted by border crossers and forgotten deportees, lost brothers and sons, González unearths the beautiful and musical amidst the grotesque,” says the publisher, noting, “These mournful, mystical poems are themselves artifact, a cry for remembrance ‘for those whose / patron saints are longing and despair.’”
Unpeopled Eden won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Poetry at the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards in New York in June 2014 and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Unpeopled Eden, August 2014. González was named a USA Rolon Fellow in October 2014 and was awarded the 2015 Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Earlier in 2013 González pubished Autobiography of My Hungers on the University of Wisconsin Press.
His other works include Red-Inked Retablos, a collection of essays that combines memories of his life with reflections about the writers who have influenced him. It is available through the University of Arizona Press. Retablos followed his intense memoir, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa, which was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as a "beautifully executed portrait of the experience of being gay," while Booklist described it as "wrenching, angry, passionate, ironic, and always eloquent." Butterfly Boy was awarded the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, and in fall 2014 it was named one of "15 Essential Books by Latino Authors in America" by the website Buzzfeed.
González’ other books include two books of poetry, Other Fugitives and Other Strangers - which was awarded The Poetry Center Book Award - and So Often the Pitcher Goes to Water Until it Breaks, a national Poetry Series selection. He writes a bi-monthly Latino book column for the El Paso Times of Texas. His other books include a young adult novel, The Mariposa Club; two bilingual children's books; a story collection, Men Without Bliss; and the novel Crossing Vines, winner of the ForeWord magazine's Fiction Book of the Year Award.