Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Adiós, Tapón…

The other day La voz de la esperanza came our way with the sad news that Lydia Mendoza had died back in December. I was shocked that it had taken so long for me to find this out, sad that I never got to talk to her with a recording machine going. Today, news of Raul Salinas' passing comes from Manuel Castillo of Sananto Cultural Arts. It feels like yet another landmark is gone, y nosotros...a navegar.

La bloga has an early story of Texas' unofficial raza poet laureate and his trip through this world. As he embarks on "otra excursión," let's all pray or do whatever we do when an elder statesman passes on. I can only imagine what's happening in Austin and especially at CMAS right now. Fortunately, it looks like a rich, well-attended celebration of his life and work took place last summer. Not everybody whose life merits an event like that gets to see it.

Salinas always seemed to me to have a troubled relation with institutions of higher learning. He joked in public readings of doing "graduate work" at Leavenworth and always radiated disdain for us academics. If you had a Ph.D. or were pursuing one, you really had to prove yourself to the guy, something Louis Mendoza managed better than most. Bolillos like me ... pos olvídate. On the other hand, Salinas seemed to desire and appreciate the recognition that the institution could provide and the way it could amplify his voice. Sometime I felt that he needed us and that this bothered him. His work never stopped being movement poetry, and I don't know of a movement poet whose early work has aged as well as his. We wish we could be in Texas to mourn his loss with friends who knew him.


Blogger jennifer said...

i hadn't heard anything about him lately, though i knew that he'd been very sick. it's very sad news.

February 14, 2008 12:33 PM  
Blogger la rebelde said...

"We wish we could be in Texas to mourn his loss with friends who knew him."

me too.

February 14, 2008 2:00 PM  
Blogger Olga said...

That's a lovely tribute, Pete, We wish you and Lo could be here, too.

February 15, 2008 8:27 AM  

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