José Montoya

American artist

José Montoya (May 28, 1932 – September 25, 2013) was a Chicano poet and artist.


  • I also got exposed to the poets that were being read at the colleges at that time. The only poetry I had remembered before that time were those horrible, long Longfellow-type things que nos hacían leer in high school [that they made us read in high school]. So I was turned off. But . . . one vato [guy] that I read was doing something that was exciting to me because he seemed to do it with a facility that I could relate to somehow . . . that was Walt Whitman. Me caiba su poesía [I dug his poetry] so I went with his trip for a long time. By then I was also starting to read T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and the Welshman Dylan Thomas. Y me fui prendiendo con esos vatos [and I got attached to those guys]. And the other vato that I really dug a lot around that same time was William Carlos Williams. I also thought he was getting away with something. And I thought all these guys were getting away with something I was being told not to do. Por eso los veía como rebels a ellos. [That's why I saw them as rebels.] How could they get away with it and I get put down for trying it.
    • On his discovery of modern Anglo-American poetics (as quoted in Chapter 5: My Old Man's Ballad: José Montoya and the Power Beyond of the book Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems)
  • I remember Richard broke a wooden box to use one of the pieces as a ruler and he was trying to figure out how to best create the image of the eagle…He noticed the detailed work of the eagle on the American dollar bill and the one on the Mexican flag and he wanted something similar but nothing was coming out right. So, he created a simple black one that was still powerful in its own right. I never thought it would still be around today in its true and original form.

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