ABQjournal: Rudolfo A. Anaya
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Sunday, September 19, 1999

The 1900s have seen New Mexico grow from an out-of-the-way U.S. territory to a state known for science, sports, literature and the arts as well as for its unique cultural mix and brand of politics.
While many people have contributed in these areas, some have had a larger-than-usual impact. Some are known far and wide: Smokey Bear, Georgia O'Keeffe, the Unser family. Others might not have as high a name recognition outside New Mexico, but leave a legacy that helped define the state.
And in most cases, their influence has been felt far beyond New Mexico's borders.
Here is one of the 20 individuals or families who helped make New Mexico what it is today.

RUDOLFO A. ANAYA -- 1937-

It has been said that the best way to describe premier novelist Rudolfo A. Anaya is un hijo del pueblo, a son of New Mexico.
Anaya was born in Pastura, a village southwest of Santa Rosa, a land of mesas and grass and long-away vistas.
Rudolfo A. Anaya

Anaya was a writer of some renown well before he burst upon the public literary scene with the brilliantly crafted and prize-winning "Bless Me, Ultima" in 1971.
In the foreword to "The Anaya Reader," a quote from Anaya encompasses the enduring challenge of self-definition facing the field of Latino letters in this country.
"We are split by ethnic boundaries," he says, "we are a border people, half in love with Mexico and half suspicious, half in love with the United States and half wondering if we belong. We have been rejected by our Spanish father, forgotten by our Indian mother, and feel unwanted by a stepmother who passes English-only laws, lights up the border, and proposes laws denying education and health care principally to the children of our Mexican people who come here seeking work."
Anaya's latest novel, "Shaman Winter," continues his saga of private investigator Sonny Baca, who was a central character in "Zia Summer" and "Rio Grande Fall." Anaya's mixed genre writing includes dozens of novels, short stories, essays, dramas and poems.

 


Compiled by Fritz Thompson, Leslie Linthicum, Bill Hume and Dennis Latta