Tony Mares and I were kindred spirits. Our friendship was effortless. He had a streak of the rebel, and a mischievous twinkle in his eye… both qualities I could easily relate to. He served on my dissertation committee while I pursed my M.F.A. at the University of New Mexico, and I valued his input and advice. He could sense when I had self-doubts, and had a way of reassuring me that I was on the right track. We shared many afternoons sitting in a local coffee shop, discussing poetry, the events of the day, the interesting ideas in the book he was currently reading, thoughts on the Spanish Civil War, and the ideals of his favorites, the Anarchists. I attended many of his poetry readings, including the one we helped organize in support of the Librotraficantes. Tony was magnificent as he stood before 300-400 people at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and read his poem “Ode to Los Librotraficantes.”
A famous writer once said, “What matters most is how well you walk through the fire,” and in Tony’s case, he showed us how, with his call for social justice, compassion for underdogs all over the globe, and a warm sense of humor. Tony called for freedom and dignity for all. Amen, maestro, amen.