Latino Author Series
Angela de Hoyos
Angela de Hoyos was born in Cuahuila, Mexico. Deeply affected by the Chicano political movement and especially with the Texas farm workers struggle in the late 1960s and early 1970s, de Hoyos work is often cited as among the first fruits of the Chincano literary movement.
Her books include: Arise Chicano! and Other Poems (Backstage Books, 1975), Chicano Poems: For the Barrio (Backstage Books, 1975), Selecciones (Xalapa, 1976), Selected Poems/Selecciones (Xalapa, 1976), and Woman, Woman (Arte Publico, 1987).
Angela de Hoyos lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Did you ever know people who did drugs. If so how did it affect you?
I have known several families of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds who have taken and are addicted to drugs.It seems to me that the youth groups are hardest hit and thereby suffer the most, physically and psychologically. In the 70s I came to know two teenage boys (from a disadvantaged family) who were "spray heads." In the poem, "Will not harm the Ozone," * the older boy tells their story. The poem was written in dramatic monologue, and it became for me a heart-wrenching story of pain.
*(from PUERTO DEL SOL, Special Caló Supplement, Ed. Jim Sagel, Vol. 27, No.1, Spring 1992, p.174, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003)
If you could go back to your childhood and change something, what would it be and why?
Wow. Thatıs a hard question! If I could change something, it would be for me to stop being so darned inquisitive. I was born with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Or maybe itıs just that I was born part cat - like, you know - "Curiosity killed a cat and satisfaction brought it back."
Who inspires you?
Oh just about anybody and everything; the whole world. The great masterminds; the great writers, the not so great, and the small too. As a writer, no creature "dead or alive" can escape you - every thing is grist for the mill.
Who is the most important person to you and why?
Ahhhhhhh! I have a "heaven-sent" temporal host of soul-mates, male/female, persons whom I deeply admire and love, whose enduring friendship and cariño I continue to cherish throughout the years. But the most important person to me is my business-partner companion, my alter-ego, side kick, Significant Mister A. Nonymous who, being a (retired) physicist, "physically" takes care of the space I inhabit on Planet Earth.
If you can be anyone else in the world (dead or alive) who would you be and why?
First of all, if you will, please pardon the heresy. Just for today, I would like to be God. Why? Because, under the present Deity, this planet already has had enough earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, drougth, tornadoes, plagues, pestilence and other nameless catastrophes to out-last eternity. AND, if I could be God, I would think long and hard before I would inflict yet another war (of the "Praise the Lord & Pass the Ammunition" kind) on ANY Third World, god-forgotten, poverty-stricken people - people so hopelessly forsaken that their only way out is death via suicidal desperation.
What are the ups and downs of being a writer?
One of the "ups" of being a writer could/would/should be the personal satisfaction, the joy you derive from writing your innermost thoughts down on paper, to share your experiences with others via the written word. Another "high" might be the first submission (a poem, play, essay, etc.) accepted for publication. A small step, yes, but it means that you, my friend, the "author" have arrived! And before long, you may be invited to give readings of your very own work. Or you may be asked to read/discuss your work on Public Radio, or to present your work on TV. And by then, itıs a merry go round of elation that just keeps on growing and going and never stops.
As to the "downs", you must be prepared to endure the "pits." Writing is a solitary craft. It involves a certain amount of discipline, dedicating long hours to produce creative art squeezed from the juices of life, material which may or not be accepted for publication. It means giving up the company of friends, foregoing the comfort of your family, especially when you need it most.
How did you become a writer and what lead you to this choice?
A "writer." I am not quite sure that I am a writer. At least, I donıt consider myself a writer, per se. Letıs just say that I love words; I love the way they "straighten up and fly right" when I need them to articulate my thoughts. As to my "career" - I think itıs more like a "hobby" than not. Because I didnıt plan it. It just happened. Like the little train, you know? It just went chugga-chugga-chugga, by fits and starts, until it just kept on going. (And you will too, my friend, if you will just keep on going. Donıt let anything deter you.) ... But, frankly, the modicum of interest/success (?) I enjoy really surprises me no end.
At what age did you start writing and who encouraged you to write?
I started to write childhood rhymes when I was about four years old. My mother, who was a gifted artist of many talents, encouraged me during my childhood. She was, and always will be, an exceptional presence in my life.
Who influences your work?
Emily Dickinson is one. Gertrude Stein. William Carlos Williams. Rudolfo Anaya, a long-time favorite. Rolando Hinojosa Smith, Mireya Robles. Rosario Castellanos. Walt Whitman. Jim Sagel. Simone Bouviere. And many more. The list is endless.
Out of all the writings you have done which is your favorite and why?
I love all my brain-children for many and various reasons. I have no favorites. Some, written from a political point of view, are obviously very dear to me. However, I particularly love those written in a "rogue-ish" vein, such as "Poem written from the Point of View of a Male Spider",*because it reminds me of Salvador Dalí, whose surrealist paintings pay exquisite homage to the absurd.
* (from AFTER AZTLAN: Latino Poets of the Nineties. Ed. Ray Gonzalez;
Boston: Godine Publisher, 1992; p. 54)
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