Remembrances of Raúl, Part One
Remembrance from Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, Emmet Campos and Amparo Garcia.
By Belinda Acosta,
9:30AM, Sat. Feb. 23, 2008
In memory of Raúl Roy “Tapon” Salinas (1934-2008), we offer these words from those who knew him and worked with him.
Emmet Campos, Austin, Texas:
He was my mentor, friend, compa. As an undergraduate at the U of W, Madison in the late '70, his poetry educated and inspired me and continues to do so, his community activism was a model I emulated, his bookstore was a space to heal, a respite from academic life. I will miss you, carnal!Amparo Garcia is a writer, actress, and the inaugural director of the Mexican American Cultural Center:
I had the rare experience as a young woman in the 1980s to stumble onto a reading that Raúl was doing at the old Ritz Theater on 6th Street. I had never heard of him and I had never heard someone speak poetry quite like him either. In those days, many of us UT undergrads were still "Hispanics" and/or hopelessly coconut all the way through. And even with that kind of unconsciousness, his words penetrated all the way through to the very bone of me. He was waking me up to something familiar in myself that was yet unknown. It was like he was a time traveler who had come all the way back to pick me up so that I wouldn't miss my future Chicana self when I finally tripped over her ten years later!
Barbara Renaud Gonzalez is a writer/journalist and activist based in San Antonio Texas. Her novel, Golondrina, A Texas Story, will be published by the University of Texas Press in Spring, 2009:
Many years ago, Raúl helped my brother, Jorge Renaud, just out of prison, get a couple of thousand dollars from the City of Austin to publish his first book of poetry. My brother spent the money on drugs, and Raúl had to find a way to pay the City back. I don't know how he did it, only heard this story later from my sister, Lety. Raúl never complained, never asked for a payment of any kind from the family, nothing.
The last time I saw Raúl was at the Esperanza Center [in San Antonio, Texas] when we did a tribute for him. We talked about my brother, who ended up going to prison. Raúl gave me hope, as always, about Jorge. Raúl knew my whole family, and when my younger brother Charlie died, he came to the funeral. Raúl was part of my familia, he loved writing and books and my mother's tortillas equally. I am grateful to have known him, I am honored that he helped my family, and I hope to help others with the same generosity he shone into my life.