Latino USA

Archive for October 1st, 2009

OBIT: Chicana Poet Angela de Hoyos

Actually, to call Angela de Hoyos a Chicana poet would be too limiting. To those who knew her, she bore many titles: co-foundress of a movement, woman of letters, publishing activist, voice of the voiceless, and many, many more.

Born in Mexico, de Hoyos called San Antonio, Texas her home for the great majority of her life. She died on September 24. But her birth date is a matter of intense dispute. Some encyclopedias describe her as being born in 1940. Her official obit in the San Antonio Express News placed her birth date in 1923. Those dates aren’t even close. But what is not in dispute is her legacy and role in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Largely unschooled, de Hoyos was mainly a self-educated woman. She often told the story of how she used to create childhood rhymes when she was four years old during a long convalescence from an illness. By the late 1960s, she began having some of her poetry published, winning international awards beginning with the Bronze Medal of Honor of the Centro Studii e Scambii Internazionale (CSSI) in Rome in 1966. She won awards for her writing from Argentina, India, Italy, and Germany. Her works would be translated into fifteen languages. As fate would have it, de Hoyos’ was better known in Europe than in her adopted U.S.-homeland.

When she read a letter to the editor in one of the San Antonio newspapers in 1970s, suggesting that all “Mes’kins” should go home, she fought back, writing: “Yes, amigo …! Why don’t I? Why don’t I resurrect the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa María — and you can scare up your little ‘Flor de Mayo’ —so we can all sail back to where we came from: the motherland womb.”

At the height of the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, de Hoyos and her husband Moises Sandoval created M&A Editions. They would publish and mentor writers like Evangelina Vigil-Piñón, Carmen Tafolla, and Inés Hernández. Her self-published poem “To Walt Whitman” remains one of her most quoted pieces.

Perhaps her most important poem as far as Chicanos are concerned was her seminal work, “Arise, Chicano.” Here now, Maria Hinojosa recites de Hoyos’ classic poem.


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A Grieving Community Revisited

At one point in its history, Binghamton, New York was a major destination hub for immigrants. At the height of the industrial revolution of the 19th Century, immigrants from Eastern Europe and other countries poured in to work in one of fifty cigar factories. Two generations later, as cigarettes replaces cigars, other industries absorbed this immigrant population. But for the most part, new immigrants found other places of the country as their new home destinations.

While their numbers were fewer, immigrants still made Binghamton their home at the turn of the 21st Century. But instead of coming from mainly Eastern Europe, these were a much more diverse lot. They came from China, Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the areas of Persia, and Africa.

Despite their varied backgrounds, these new immigrants in Binghamton, New York had a common place to gather, to learn, to support each other, and to unite them. It was the American Civic Association. And it was here that on April 3 of this year that one of their own organized a killing rampage that left 14 dead, including the gunman.

Six months later, radio producer Brian Mann takes us back to Binghamton, New York to see how this wounded community is coping.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Palabras del Silencio – Luís Fonsi

Luís Fonsi was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico but grew up in Orlando, Florida. He had always dreamed of being a musical performer and majored in music at Florida State University, where he signed his first recording contract.

Today, Fonsi is an international star, recording not only pop ballads and internation hits, but appearing in telenovelas throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Fonsi’s latest record, Palabras del Silencio, has recently garnered Grammy nominations. And this week, he was selected to be part of an all-star lineup for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert to be held in Oslo this December.

Before the Nobel concert announcement, Fonsi sat down with Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa to talk about music and acting.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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