Adiós Victor Martinez

We’re sad here at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto to announce the death of poet and novelist Victor Martinez. His bio on the Harper Collins website reads: Victor Martinez was born and raised in Fresno, California, the fourth in a family of twelve children. He attended California State University at Fresno and Stanford University, and has worked as a field laborer, welder, truck driver, firefighter, teacher, and office clerk. His poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies. Mr. Martinez was awarded the 1996 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for Parrot in the Oven, his first novel. (Meghan Ward)

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Victor Martinez 2.21.1954 – 2.18.2011

“It was very important for Victor to be known as an American writer,” said his wife, Tina Alvarez. “He was not writing for any specific group. He was writing for everyone.”
“His poetry was more about life and thoughts. It made you think.”

Read more here

When Martinez died in the early morning of Feb. 18, 2011, in his apartment on Capp Street, a few days before his 57th birthday, that book Parrot in the Oven: Mi Vida, had become part of the canon of books taught to American high school students.

Martinez, who counts among his friends, the Chicana writers Sandra Cisneros (The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek) and feminist Ana Castillo, makes a sustained effort not to live a publicly writerly lifestyle. “When people ask what I do, I don’t say ‘I’m a writer,'” he says. “I tell them I drive a truck, I wash dishes, so people aren’t suspicious of your motives, or put a spin on their relationship with you. (Kevin Davis – Mission Scribe)

PBS Interview after winning the award
Victor’s wife told him to go with the big publisher so he did.

Victor loved Giacometti wrote Jurgen Trautwein via email.

Victor Martinez was my friend for 20 years, a great inspiration, a true artist and an amazing poet and writer. I will really miss you Victor.

Victor Martinze vic at berkely art m with Enrique Chagoya, Sal Garcia at the Berkeley Art Museum (photo by jtwine)

Francisco X. Alarcon

It was at Stanford University where Victor Martínez met Tina Alvarez, the love of his life. I told Linda Wilson over the phone, that one morning Tina and Vic called me to come in a hurry to their pad on Capp Street. I ran from my flat on San Jose Avenue, few blocks away, and found out that they had decided to get married that day and they wanted me as a witness. (Via)