Rane Arroyo – November 15, 1954 – May 7, 2010
“It is only after a lifetime of poems, of difficult work, that a man or woman can be judged a prophet.”
Rane Arroyo was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents, and began as a performance artist in Chicago galleries before beginning to write poetry, which eventually yielded Columbus’s Orphans, Pale Ramon and Home Movies of the Narcissus, among other titles. He wrote 10 poetry books, more than a dozen plays and a short story collection.
A beloved teacher, writer, and scholar, Arroyo overturned assumptions and stereotypes about homosexuality and Latinos, helping define both literary canons. Among his many awards, Arroyo’s work received the John Ciardi Poetry Prize, the Carl Sandburg Poetry Prize, an Ohio Arts Council Award for Excellence in Poetry, a Pushcart Prize and the Hart Crane Poetry Prize.
Though for more than a decade Arroyo lived in Ohio, where he was a professor of creative writing at the University of Toledo, he considered Chicago his home more than any other. In an interview with Cervena Barva Press, Arroyo said that he “actually lived in three Chicagos.” The first was an entirely Spanish-speaking Chicago neighborhood, the second the western suburb to where his family relocated, and the third the Chicago that welcomed him as “prodigal son returned.” As a young artist exploring Chicago’s 80s art scene, Arroyo read in “parking lots and discos.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College.
Seven Kitchens Press recently announced the formation of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize.