He was referring not to Cub Scouts, but to wolves. Angela was fierce in her advocacy, yet the gentlest of guiding spirits to many young writers. REMEMBRANCE Den Mother BY BRYCE MILLIGAN Poet Angela de Hoyos died on Sept. 24 at her home in San Antonio at the age of 85. De Hoyos was a Chicano poet even before the term existed, publishing award-winning political poems in the 1960s. In the mid1970s, when the movement was in full bloom, she rose to prominence with the publication of her most famous work, “Arise, Chicano!” She went on to found M&A Press, which published a new generation of Chicano writers from a printing press in her garage. About four-and-a-half feet tall, Angela de Hoyos was, as Rudolfo Anaya put it, “one of our giants.” She was a walking contradiction in many ways. Older than even the oldest of the activists who created the Chicano movement in the 196osand older by more than a decade than writers like Anaya and Tomas RiveraAngela always seemed part of a younger generation. Such was her passion. That impression came partly from the fact that she surrounded herself with younger writers, especially when her micropress, M&A Editions, was turning out groundbreaking books by young Chicanos like Carmen Tafolla, Evangelina Vigil and Ines Hernandez. Angela had enormous respect for other people’s talent. If you were a writer in the same room with her, she made you feel like you were the best writer in the room. She was so self-effacing that it could be disorienting. Once she asked me to help oversee a creative-writing thesis for Vermont College. A poet had chosen her to be the designated mentor. “I don’t know why she picked me,” Angela said. “I’m nobody.” “Right,” I said, “just like Emily Dickinson. Perhaps she picked you because you’re one of the best-known Chicana poets in the world.” Angela shook her head dismissively. “I’m not Emily,” she said. “I really am nobody.” Angela isn’t a household name like Dickinson, but her influence was felt by a generation of Latino writers. The late poet Raul Salinas famously called Angela the “den mother of the Chicano movement.” He was referring not to Cub Scouts, but to wolves. It was a perfect description. Angela was fierce in her advocacy, yet the gentlest of guiding 28 THE TEXAS OBSERVER DECEMBER 11, 2009
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