Volume 2Fall '04

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Gloria Anzaldúa

Internationally recognized cultural theorist and creative writer, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa, passed away on May 15, 2004 from diabetes-related complications. She was 61 years old. A versatile author, Anzaldúa published poetry, theoretical essays, short stories, autobiographical narratives, interviews, children's books, and multigenre anthologies. As one of the first openly lesbian Chicana authors, Anzaldúa played a major role in redefining contemporary Chicano/a and lesbian/queer identities. And as editor or co-editor of three multicultural anthologies, Anzaldúa has also played a vital role in developing an inclusionary feminist movement.

Anzaldúa is best known for Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), a hybrid collection of poetry and prose which was named one of the 100 Best Books of the Century by both Hungry Mind Review and Utne Reader.

Anzaldúa's published works also include This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), a ground-breaking collection of essays and poems widely recognized by scholars as the premiere multicultural feminist text; Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists-of-Color (1990), a multigenre collection used in many university classrooms; two bilingual children's books--Friends from the Other Side/Amigos del otro lado (1993) and Prietita and the Ghost Woman/ Prietita y la Llorona (1995); Interviews/Entrevistas (2000), a memoir-like collection of interviews; and this bridge we call home: radical visions for transformation (2002), a co-edited collection of essays, poetry, and artwork that examines the current status of feminist/womanist theorizing. Anzaldúa has won numerous awards, including the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, the Lamda Lesbian Small Book Press Award, an NEA Fiction Award, the Lesbian Rights Award, the Sappho Award of Distinction, an NEA (National endowment for the Arts) Fiction Award, and the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anzaldúa was born in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas in 1942, the eldest child of Urbano and Amalia Anzaldúa. She received her B.A. from Pan American University, her M.A. from University of Texas, Austin, and was completing her doctorate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is survived by her mother, Amalia, her sister, Hilda, and two brothers: Urbano Anzaldúa, Jr. and Oscar Anzaldúa; five nieces, three nephews, eighteen grandnieces and grandnephews, a multitude of aunts and uncles, and many close friends.

Public memorials in California were held June 4th in Santa Cruz and June 13th and 25th in San Francisco.

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