Spanish poet 'was a mentor to us all'

Angel Gonzalez, one of Spain’s most prominent poets and member of a literary generation known for its opposition to the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, has died. He was 82.

Gonzalez died on January 12 after being hospitalised with pneumonia. His remains were cremated the next day after a ceremony at Madrid’s Almudena Cemetery.

Gonzalez—a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, the prestigious, official watchdog of the Spanish language—won many awards for his work, including the Asturias Prize for Letters in 1985.

His poems addressed issues such as freedom and solidarity, and like many intellectuals under the Franco regime, Gonzalez eventually left Spain.

In the 1970s, he accepted a teaching position at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in the south-western United States, and stayed there until retiring in 1993, although he frequently travelled back to Spain.

“It is too early for him to have left, although I am glad he died without having fallen into decadence,” said novelist Almudena Grandes.
“He was a mentor to all of us. He exercised literary and vital authority.”

Writers, artists, teachers and friends gathered at the cremation ceremony to pay their respects to Gonzalez.

“I have never felt like such an orphan,” singer Joaquin Sabina said at the morgue where Gonzalez’s body was taken.

Gonzalez is survived by his widow, Susana Rivera.—Sapa-AP

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