Spanish poet Angel Gonzalez dead at 82

January 14, 2008 8:02:14 AM PST
Angel Gonzalez, one of Spain's most prominent poets and member of a literary generation known for its opposition to the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, has died at the age of 82.

Gonzalez died Saturday morning after being hospitalized with pneumonia. His remains were cremated Sunday after a ceremony at Madrid's Almudena Cemetery.

In attendance were many writers, artists, teachers and others who were friends of the Gonzalez, a lover of late-night chats in the bars and cafes of Madrid.

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

Gonzalez was a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, the prestigious, official watchdog of the Spanish language, and won awards that included the Asturias Prize for Letters in 1985.

His poems addressed issues like 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 and stayed there until retiring in 1993, although he frequently traveled 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."

Gonzalez is survived by his widow, Susana Rivera.

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