New play honors life of pioneering New Mexican writer and author

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — It’s been nearly two years since New Mexican author Rudolfo Anaya passed away — and now an UNM alumnus has helped commemorate the “father of Chicano literature” by directing and co-producing a play on his life.

“This play is, yes, about Rudolfo Anaya and his accomplishments and receiving the National Humanities Award from Barack Obama,” said Dr. Cecelia Aragon, the play’s director and co-producer, “but much of the bigger picture is really about the human condition. What Rudolfo Anaya teaches us is writing about culture and writing about the people of a specific region.

Dr. Cecelia Aragon now works at the University of Wyoming, and this year she helped produce “Bless Me Coatlicue,” which details Anaya’s life from the 1960s until her death in 2020.

“This is what Rudolfo Anaya teaches us about the human condition, about love, about compassion, about challenges and struggles – and also about the disabilities he experienced throughout his life,” said Dr. Aragón.

According to Dr. Aragon, Anaya has always been rooted in New Mexico. As a writer, he explored the landscape of the state – the people, the culture, the language, the music, and all it had to offer – to truly give people a voice.

“Not just looking at the culture, but also looking at the challenges and difficulties that the culture has had to face, as we move through this contemporary society,” Dr. Aragon noted. “This fast-paced technology, all production and, you know, the fear of losing your language and your culture.”

The play was written by Professor RC Davis, who was a dear colleague and friend of Anaya.