Ana María Fagundo
Professor Emerita of Hispanic Studies
Ana María Fagundo passed away on June 10, 2010, at the age of 72, surrounded by those she loved in her beloved Spain. She was Professor Emerita of Spanish in the Department of Hispanic Studies. She retired from UCR in 2001, returning to her birthplace in Spain and maintaining homes in Madrid and El Sauzal on the outskirts of the capital of Tenerife, the largest of the seven Canary Islands.
Fagundo joined the UCR faculty in 1967 to teach modern Spanish literature. Her areas of specialization were in modern North American and Spanish poetry, in particular the work of twentieth-century women poets. She was a great admirer of American poets such as Walt Whitman and Sylvia Plath. Internationally recognized as a major poet of the Spanish language in her own right, she was often invited to read her poetry in multiple venues throughout the world. She published eleven books of poetry, many of which were translated and anthologized extensively.
Candelas Gala, Charles E. Taylor Professor of Romance Languages at Wake Forest University who compiled and edited a bilingual anthology of Fagundo’s poetry, has noted that Ana Maria Fagundo saw in Tenerife, emerging forcefully from the sea, “an image for the impulse to live and create that she made her own....” That is precisely how many will recall her: a passionate, forceful woman equally engaged and engaging in the classroom and far beyond.
Professor Fagundo’s hometown newspaper, La Opinión, noted that her poetry often referred back to her island home amid its exploration of identity and love. In a rare interview with the Spanish newspaper El Día, she said that her role in life was to write poetry, which was as vital to her and as necessary as breathing. “I do it because I can’t do otherwise...Writing [poetry], being able to create it, is my priority.”
In 1969, Professor Fagundo founded the literary journal of poetry, narratives, and essays, Alaluz. It was a highly regarded scholarly endeavor where even Nobel Laureates once published.
All who knew Ana Maria will not forget her. She was born to leave a mark, in the classroom, among her colleagues and in the world through her keen intellect and enduring poetry.
David Herzberger (chair)