Friday, February 15, 2008

from Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Chicana profesora and author

[this was previously sent to the Macondo Writers listserv]

"I am so saddened by the loss of Raul Salinas and his indefatigable voice for human rights and social justice. I feel entirely grateful that I knew him, heard him speak and recite his poetry, and I am honored that he called me "hermana." I am also overwhelmed by all of the losses and health-related emergencies that our Macondistas have suffered this year. All I can hope is that, since 2008 is a 1-year and marks the beginning of a new 9-year cycle, that these losses all signal a time of rebirth for our individual and collective creative spirits.

Con ustedes en tristeza,

filmmaker/blogger Jim Mendiola on raul

Originally from San Antonio, Jim is now living/working/analyzing somewhere out of Califas.

Read his tribute blogpost here.

from "Ombligo Sereno de la Luna" - bloga of Abel Salas

[Abel Salas was one of the first, in a series of young, wide-eyed men, who I noticed hanging around raul--his onda, his bookstore and literary events. Abel was not only good at helping raul manage his shop, but he was a promising poet as well. Abel's long-gone from Austin; he's been based in southern California for many years now. But, to me, he will always be part of the memory I have of those first few years that Resistencia bookstore--as a literary, sociopolitical sharpening stone-- became indelibly stamped on my soul like the favorite places of childhood, of young adult experimentation.]

Here's an excerpt from a fine tribute essay Abel posted to his blog on Wednesday, Feb. 13th:

"He wrote and he taught and he blessed us with his wisdom, a sage body of knowledge acquired through a lifetime of experience filtered through one of the keenest intellects I've ever encountered. His work on behalf of Native American rights and at-risk youth in detention facilities across the nation, his struggles against oppression and political censorship around the globe, and his gentle demeanor as a humble bookminder shall be heralded through the end of time. Adios, uncle. I'm a better human being for having known you and need you to know that your work will go on. It will continue far beyond those admiring liner notes for your first spoken word CD from Calaca Press, te lo prometo... La lucha continua."

online comment from "orpheusoul"

"I had the pleasure, and HONOR to share the mic with this wonderful and brilliant man...

He was a master of the Pachuco-Jazz-Beat style, and not many poets remain that can measure up to him...

I am saddened by his loss, but I know that in a little private corner of heaven, Raul, Lalo, Richard, and Cesar are all gathered together whoopin it up and writing pieces that will shape eternity and infulence earthbound poets to pursue a perfection of their craft and to create as he created!"

Author/activist Luis J. Rodriguez posts statement to his blog

[reposted from Luis' blog ]

Another Friend Passes Over -- RIP raulrsalinas

Raul R. Salinas--also written as raulrsalinas--was an immense inspiration and mentor in my life and writing. Not only was he one of the veterans of Chicano poetry, he was known among the Beats, Jazz poets, and as a leading poet of the prison life after spending 11 years in state and federal prisons in California, Texas, Illinois, and Kentucky. He died today at age 73.

I knew Raul for many years. We took part in Native sweat ceremonies with Barrios Unidos in California; we read poetry together in various events, including in San Anto, Tejaztlan. He also founded La Resistencia Bookstore in Austin, serving as an example to me when I later helped create Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley section of LA.

One time we found ourselves in hotel rooms next to each other. I walked out into the balcony and saw Raul on his balcony looking into the Texas sky as I was doing. We shared moments about heroin addictions, jails, poetry, but also the Native spirituality we both shared. A couple of times he told me that his favorite poem of mine was "Tombstone Poets," about two heroin-addict poets in East LA.

My favorite of his was his most famous: "Un Trip Through the Mind Jail," a classic of Chicano poetry (actually of any poetry, anywhere). This text appeared in the 1960s and opened up the imaginations and language adventures of vatos like me.

Please go to his website at to find out more about his work, his importance in US and world letters, and about La Resistencia.

A true revolutionary, poet of the people, human rights advocate, Native spiritual leader, and a great friend, I will miss Raul very much. I will also honor his life and work by continuing his struggles for the dignity and rights of all people, but in particular the Native peoples of this land, this country, this continent -- this world.

Tlazhokamati y tiahui.


Steve Hopson's flickr photo-share site...

...features a nice photo tribute to raul.

POETRY AS ACTIVISM - 1997 Austin Chronicle article by Phil West

This article was written by slam poet Phil West, who was on staff at the Austin Chronicle at the time.

Go to this link for the article.