Elegy on the Death of César Chávez

Publication Type
Publication Year

DISC, 2017: 247.

Rudolfo A. Anaya

Chicano novelist Rudolfo Anaya was greatly influenced by the heroic life of labor and civil rights activist César Chávez. After Chávez' death in 1993, Anaya wrote this elegy eulogizing the man and his life's work. Echoing Shelley's elegy on the death of John Keats, the poem expresses the grief of la gente, but closes by calling all peoples together to continue his non-violent struggle for freedom and justice. --from book's back cover


This poetic expression of mourning and hope is a heartfelt commentary on history and greatness. Anaya tells about the life of this crusader for justice and how his ideals shaped his life’s work. Chávez’s impact on both the Hispanic community and American society is made manifest by repeated expression of grief and loss, and by the final conclusion that, despite his death, his work goes on. Skillful use of meter and repetition give the text a mesmerizing formality that imparts the gravity of Chávez’s labor and magnitude of his loss. It is perfectly matched by Enriquez’s accomplished mixed-media collages. --from School Library Journal