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Poetry Collections

My body, the physical self, gives me a sense of presence. But it is raw. Poetry provides the means to interpret and measure my interaction with my surroundings; both the natural and the manmade. Art plugs me in, turns me on. To deny this role of art in our lives, or diminish it, leads to the dysfunctions we see every day, and I believe will ultimately be our downfall as a species.

" This is a very, very good book, by a very, very good poet. Richard Vargas, in this book, manages to connect, empathically, with more of us in sixty-some pages than other poets merely speak to in the hundreds they produce. He does it with clarity and clean prose. He manages to inform our politics without preaching about them. And he does it with a remarkable and, unfortunately rarely-seen, sense of empathy for his readers and their own lives." J.T. Whitehead, excerpt from his review posted 4/1/24 on

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"...Richard Vargas's poetry captures life’s beauty, absurdities, and the memories almost left behind. These are poems that rise above the joda, the struggles of everyday life only a poet of his caliber can muster with eloquence and fortitude.”—Levi Romero, Inaugural New Mexico Poet Laureate

American Jesus

"In this collection, Richard Vargas captures the complex relationships of the everyman, creating vignettes that make them larger-than-life, at least for the blink of an eye. Vargas has a keen understanding of simple lives wrought with everyday despair, and his work conveys this with caring, honesty, and humor. This book should be at every truck stop and dental office, as well as university libraries-the appeal is that far-reaching." - Nila Northsun, author of A Snake In Her Mouth and Love At Gunpoint

"Richard Vargas is one of the best Chicano poets writing today, a voice for all as he explores the predicaments of the modern world with tenderness and fury. His is a voice we can rely on as we make our way forward to that place of mystery where, despite everything, survival seems possible as we join in the poet's song." - Demetria Martinez, author of Breathing Between The Lines, The Devil's Workshop, and 2013 American Book Award winner The Block Captain's Daughter


"If I had not followed Richard’s poetic development over so many years, I would be stunned by the scope of recollection, the maturity of reflection, and the mastery of idiom in these poems.  Now, thinking back to how talented he was even at the start, I realize I should not even be surprised at what he has achieved here."  Gerald Locklin - Author of The Life Force Poems

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