Salinas, Luis Omar 1937-

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Salinas, Luis Omar 1937-

PERSONAL: Born June 27, 1937, in Robstown, TX; son of Rosendo and Olivia (Trevino) Salinas. Ethnicity: "Mexican-American." Education: Attended Fresno State University, 1967–72.

ADDRESSES: Home—2009 9th St., Sanger, CA 93652.

CAREER: Poet, editor, and interpreter.

AWARDS, HONORS: Citation, California English Teachers, 1973; Stanley Kunitz Poetry Prize, 1980, for Afternoon of the Unreal; Earl Lyon Award, 1980; General Electric Foundation Award, 1983.


Crazy Gypsy: Poems (includes "Sunday … Dig the Empty Sounds," "Crazy Gypsy," "The Train," "Aztec Angel," "Mexico Age Four," and "Guevara"), Origenes Publications (Santa Barbara, CA), 1970.

(Editor, with Lillian Faderman) From the Barrio: A Chicano Anthology, Canfield Press (San Francisco, CA), 1973.

(With others) Entrance: Four Chicano Poets; Leonard Adame, Luis Omar Salinas, Gary Soto, Ernesto Trejo (anthology), Greenfield Review Press (New York, NY), 1975.

I Go Dreaming Serenades (poetry), Mango (San Jose, CA), 1979.

Afternoon of the Unreal (poetry), Abramas Publications (Fresno, CA), 1980.

Prelude to Darkness (poetry), Mango (San Jose, CA), 1981.

Darkness under the Trees: Walking behind the Spanish (poetry; includes "You Are Not Here"), Chicano Studies Library Publications, University of California (Berkeley, CA), 1982.

The Sadness of Days: Selected and New Poems, Arte Publico (Houston, TX), 1987.

Follower of Dusk (poetry), Flume Press (Chico, CA), 1991.

Sometimes Mysteriously (poetry), Salmon Run Press (Chugiak, AK), 1998.

Elegy for Desire (poetry), University of Arizona Press (Tucson, AZ), 2005.

Also author of the poems "Many Things of Death" and "What Is Poverty." Work represented in anthologies, including Speaking for Ourselves: American Ethnic Writing, edited by Lillian Faderman, Scott Foresman and Co., 1969; Mexican-American Authors, edited by Amerigo Paredes and Raymund Paredes, Houghton, 1972; We Are Chicanos, edited by Philip D. Ortego, Washington Square Press (New York, NY), 1973; Time to Greeze!: Incantations from the Third World, edited by Janice Mirikitani and others, Glide Publications, 1974; and Settling America: The Ethnic Expression of Fourteen Contemporary Poets, edited by David Khekdian, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974. Contributor to periodicals, including San Francisco Chronicle, Transpacific, Partisan, Bronze, Es Tiempo, and Revista Chicano-Riqueña. Editor, Backwash, 1969–70.

SIDELIGHTS: Born in Texas, poet Luis Omar Salinas spent a few early years in Mexico, but from the age of nine he lived with an aunt and uncle in California. While supporting himself with a variety of jobs, Salinas attended college in California and became involved in the literary community at Fresno State University. He is best known for his surrealistic vision.

In Salinas's view, dreamlike and fantastical imagery can better convey reality and suffering as it is experienced by people than can a conventional "realistic" approach. The author's work often addresses such problems as poverty, prejudice, and the alienation that Mexican-Americans undergo in American society.

Salinas told CA: "I enjoy writing. When a book gets published, it cheers me up. I enjoy seeing my imaginary metaphor smile. My work is influenced by the Spanish Civil War poets and by the romantics: Byron, Shelley, Keats. My writing process is simple: something that will leave room for humor. My writing has been inspired by my father. I wrote a poem titled 'My Father Is a Simple Man,' which became very popular.

"Some changes to my writing can be seen in my book Elegy for Desire, in which I deal with the romantic vent: the theme of love, search, or presence. The chief change is to write about the sensual without using pornography—women are the inspiration."



Martinez, Julio A. and Francisco A. Lomeli, editors, Chicano Literature: A Reference Guide, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1985.

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Salinas, Luis Omar 1937-

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