Thursday, October 15, 2009

"climb up / that ladder / bring down / the moon ..." —Angela De Hoyos from her collection WOMAN, WOMAN (1985)

Pioneering Mexican-American poet Angela De Hoyos passed away September 24, 2009 in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. She will long be celebrated for her impact and influence on so many Latino authors.

The author of Arise, Chicano! (M&A Editions, 1976) and Woman, Woman (Arte Público Press, 1985), De Hoyos’ work is groundbreaking, politically charged, and much admired. The winner of numerous international awards, she will undoubtedly be remembered for stirring a sense of conscience about the Hispanic-American experience. De Hoyos read a letter to the editor in a San Antonio newspaper in the 70s telling “Mes’kins” to go home and subsequently took up her pen to argue against blatant intolerance. De Hoyos continued writing during turbulent times, and her unique voice called for an end to discrimination against the less fortunate—women, farm workers, etc.

Carmen Tafolla, award-winning poet and author said, “An exquisite poetic voice and one of the first Chicana poets to publish, Angela was not only significant as a writer but also as a pioneer in Chicano publishing.”

Tafolla understands the significance of honoring pioneers in the Latino community. Her great grandfather, Santiago Tafolla, blazed a trail as an early Hispanic Methodist circuit-riding preacher. He wrote about his experiences in a memoir started in 1908 and published for the first time in 2009. Carmen Tafolla co-edited A Life Crossing Borders: Memoir of a Mexican-American Confederate / Las memorias de un mexicoamericano en la Confederación. The autobiography serves as an invaluable aid to understanding the upheavals of the 19th century in North America. In the same vein, De Hoyos’ voice will live on in her poetry as evidence of her passionate call for human rights.

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