Latinos For Texas Blog

2008-Feb-13

Rest in peace, raulsalinas

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 3:42 pm

Very sad news today
——————–

Raul Salinas, known as raulsalinas, that great human being, transformed by life and fire, has died. Raul was a featured poet at the Border Book Festival in 2000. It was a memorable performance as Raul danced, sang and gyrated through the power of his words his English, Spanish and Xicanindio.

His life was hard, yes, as he was incarcerated for many years in U.S. prisons, but those who knew and loved him saw his transformation into a light indescribable–beatific, really. We celebrate his great beauty and his gifts of spirit and words.

Raul has made his way to the Ancestors.

Raul will be greatly missed. His work, poetry, and philosophy will live on in the good works of poets, artists, musicians and cultural centros throughout America. His spirit we lead us all and help us to survive and thrive in difficult times.

His words/poems should serve as maps for us all in our quest to keep culture, heritage and tradition alive in our barrios, cul de sacs, suburbs,ranchos…wherever you/we live.

Thank you, Raul. You have blessed us all.
Manuel Diosdado Castillo, Jr.
San Anto Cultural Arts

A BIO OF RAUL SALINAS

Raul Roy Tapona Salinas was born in San Antonio, Texas on March 17, 1934. He was raised in Austin, Texas from 1936 to 1956, when he moved to Los Angeles. In 1957 he was sentenced to prison in Soleded State Prison in California. Over the span of the next 15 years, Salinas spent 11 years behind the walls of state and federal penitentiaries.
It was during his incarceration in some of the nation’s most brutal prison systems, that Salinas social and political consciousness were intensified, and so it is with keen insight into the subhuman conditions of prisons and an inhuman world that the pinto aesthetics that inform his poetry were formulated.

His prison years were prolific ones, including creative, political, and legal writings, as well as an abundance of correspondence. In 1963, while in Huntsville, he began writing a jazz column entitled THE QUARTER NOTE which ran consistently for 1-1/2 years. In Leavenworth he played a key role in founding and producing two important prison journals, Aztlán de Leavenworth and New Era Prison Magazine, through which his poetry first circulated and gained recognition within and outside of the walls. As a
spokesperson, ideologue, educator, and jailhouse lawyer of the Prisoner Rights Movement, Salinas also became an internationalist who saw the necessity of making alliances with others. This vision continues to inform his political and poetic practice. Initially published in the inaugural issue of Aztlán de Leavernworth, a Trip through a
Mind Jail (1970) became the title piece for a book of poetry published by Editorial Pocho-Che in 1980.

With the assistance of several professors and students at the University of Washington - Seattle, Salinas gained early release from Marion Federal Penitentiary in 1972. As a student at the University of Washington, Salinas was involved with community empowerment projects and began making alliances with Native American groups in the Northwest, a relationship that was to intensify over the next 15 years. Although Salinas writes of his experiences as a participant in the Native American Movement, it is a dimension of his life that has received scant attention. In the 22 years since his release from Marion, Salinas involvement with various political movements has earned him an international reputation as an eloquent spokesperson for justice. Along the way he has continued to refine and produce his unique blend of poetry and politics.

Salinas’ literary reputation in Austin earned him recognition as the poet laureate of the East Side and the title of *maestro* from emerging poets who seek his advice and a mentor. While his literary work is probably most widely known for his street aesthetics and sensibility, which document the interactions, hardships, and intra- and intercultural strife of barrio life and prison in vernacular, bilingual language, few people have examined the influence of Jazz in his obra that make him part of the Beat Generation of poets, musicians, and songwriters. His poetry collections included dedications, references, and responses to Alan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Charlie Parker, Herschel Evans, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, for example. Academics have primarily classified Salinas as an important formative poet of the Chicano Movement; yet, while he may have received initial wide-scale recognition during the era, it would be unfair Raul Salinas, known as raulsalinas, that great human being, transformed by life and fire, has died. Raul was a featured poet at the Border Book Festival in 2000. It was a memorable performance as Raul danced, sang and gyrated through the power of his words his English, Spanish and Xicanindio.

His life was hard, yes, as he was incarcerated for many years in U.S. prisons, but those who knew and loved him saw his transformation into a light indescribable–beatific, really. We celebrate his great beauty and his gifts of spirit and words.

Raul has made his way to the Ancestors.

Raul will be greatly missed. His work, poetry, and philosophy will live on in the good works of poets, artists, musicians and cultural centros throughout America. His spirit we lead us all and help us to survive and thrive in difficult times.

His words/poems should serve as maps for us all in our quest to keep culture, heritage and tradition alive in our barrios, cul de sacs, suburbs, ranchos…wherever you/we live.

Thank you, Raul. You have blessed us all.

Manuel Diosdado Castillo, Jr.
San Anto Cultural Arts

En paz descanse. May he rest in peace.

3 Responses to “Rest in peace, raulsalinas”

  1. Brian P. Ruiz Says:

    A few years ago I took a summer class at St. Edward’s University that helped shine a light on many minority issues we face today. My professor had lived through many tough days and showed videos of injustices throughout our country. It was made clear that there are still a lot of prejudgments made of people and how racism still exist today.

    That class was unforgettable. We had lively discussions and we were in awe, as our professor would share his life stories. Well, it saddened me today to find out that this unforgettable professor, Raul Salinas, has passed away.

    Since that class I had gone to his Resistencia bookstore on South 1st Street to see Raul and learn more. In that store I learned about the daily lives of day workers and the tough lives they live. Illegal or not I learned that many of them are good, hard working people that just want a better life for their family. As a father of two I understand this now more than ever.

    I regret that I was not able to tell Raul about my candidacy for United States Congress but one thing is for sure, his life impacted mine and I am a better person for this. Raul, thank you and I’ll make sure I don’t forget your teachings as I walk my first steps into the United States Capitol as District 31’s new Congressman.

  2. Sonia Santana Says:

    AAS article 2/14/08
    Raúl Salinas, poet, teacher and activist, dies
    Austin resident and bookstore owner gave voice to Chicano struggle.

    By Miguel Liscano
    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
    Thursday, February 14, 2008

    Raúl Salinas was an ex-con whose tattoos in faded green ink reminded people he’d seen rough times, a mentor who kept his students grounded and a poet whose bilingual politically charged writing attracted fans from around the world.

    On Wednesday morning, the man who found his voice in prison and tried to give that voice to his readers died in Austin from complications of liver cancer, a family friend said. He was 73.
    (more at link above)
    —————————————-

    And from his beloved Resistencia Bookstore comes this notice:

    Services for raúlrsalinas:

    Visitation
    Friday Feb. 15, 2008
    6pm – 8pm
    Wilke Clay Fish Funeral Home
    2620 South Congress Ave.
    Austin, Tex. 78704
    512-442-1446

    Memorial Service
    Saturday Feb. 16, 2008
    2pm
    Wilke Clay Fish Funeral Home
    2620 South Congress Ave.
    512-442-1446

    *followed by*
    Gravesite Service
    Assumption Cemetery
    3650 South I – 35 (@ Woodward St.)
    Austin, Tex. 78704
    512-442-4252

    Please send flowers to Wilke Clay Fish Funeral Home.

    And send cards to:
    Resistencia Bookstore
    1801-A South First St.
    Austin, Tex. 78704

    If you need any more information,
    please call 512-416-8885 &/or e-mail revolu @ swbell.net.
    ——————————————

  3. keither Says:

    Hey Texas, Don’t forget that Hillary Clinton was the CEO of Wal-Mart during the time that they were being sued for sexism against women. Also don’t forget she was paid millions by pharmacies to shut her mouth about public health care. She can’t even control her husband, let alone a country. Obama is the clear choice.
    All the best,
    KJ ;-)

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress

//