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Voices From the Gaps

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Evangelina Vigil-Piñón

And They Nod Their Heads Que Si.
Little pieces fall off me every day. Like hilo strands of my long, black
hair. Me siento, in idle restlessness, reviewing things once said or
written, and wonder, if it means anything. Does it mean anything at all?
My existencia quivers, and I cannot help it.

          — Nade y Nade

Biography / Criticism

Evangelina Vigil-Piñón was born November 29, 1949 in San Antonio, Texas. Vigil-Piñón lived in San Antonio while growing up. She finally moved from San Antonio when she went to college. Her father's family is from Seguin, Texas, and her mother's family comes from San Antonio. Her mother's family emigrated to Texas in the early 1900s from Parras, Mexico. As a child, Vigil-Piñón lived with her maternal grandmother. This is where she heard stories about Mexico and the United States during the early 1900s. Vigil-Piñón credits her mother for her love of books and her father for her love of music.

Vigil-Piñón's interest in literature and music began early. As a sixth grader, her principal sent her to the Inman Christian Center, a private art school in San Antonio, where she was in attendance with people in their twenties. In the eight grade, Vigil-Piñón won third place with a four-line poem that she composed. In high school, Vigil-Piñón united her musical and poetic interests and wrote lyrics to the songs that she sang in a group with others from her neighborhood. Vigil-Piñón stated that she is inspired to write poetry from the world around her, from "the rhythm of time, the ticking of clocks, hearts beating. To [her] poetry is music. It is that song in our heart. Life is the dance to that music" (Johnson 308).

Vigil-Piñón earned a scholarship for business administration. In 1968 she enrolled in Prairie View A&M University. Vigil-Piñón then transferred to the University of Houston where she chose to major in English. In 1974, she graduated with her B.A. in English.

During her time in Houston after graduation, Vigil-Piñón composed her first collection of poems, Tanteadas y malas tanteadas (Feeling the Way). She moved back to San Antonio in 1976. In 1977, at the Universidad Jacinto Trevino, she taught English Composition and American literature.

Vigil-Piñón's first book, Nade y Nade (Deeper and Deeper), was published in 1978. This book is a compilation of thirty poems that cover a variety of themes. Vigil-Piñón's book, Thirty an' Seen a Lot, was published in 1982. The poems within this book were composed in a six year time span. The book earned Vigil-Piñón the 1983 American Book Award.

Vigil-Piñón married Mark Anthony Piñón in 1983. Within the same year, the anthology, Woman of Her Word: Hispanic Women Write, was published. Vigil-Piñón was the editor of this anthology. She and her husband had their son, Marc Anthony Piñón, in 1984. Vigil-Piñón also wrote and directed a videotape called Night Vigil, which was released in 1984. Vigil-Piñón's book, The Computer is Down, was published in 1987. In 1995, Vigil-Piñón translated Tomas Rivera's novel Y No Se lo Trago la Tierra (And the Earth Did Not Devour Him). In the fall of 2001, Vigil-Piñón published El muumuu de Marina (Marina's Muumuu). This is her first bilingual children's book.

Vigil-Piñón is currently a teacher at the University of Houston, where she teaches Mexican-American Literature and United States Hispanic Literature. She is also a songwriter and singer of Brazilian and Latin Jazz for the Houston Tranquility Base (Pena 1). Vigil-Piñón also hosts and produces "Community Close Up: Viva Houston," for a local network news station in Houston, Texas.

Selected Bibliography

Works by the Author

Poetry and Fiction


Work in Progress

Works about the Author

Related Links
Vigil's entry in Houston People: Community Portraits Presented by Houston Institute for Culture.

Before Columbus Foundation American Book Awards

Web site for the American Book Award, which Vigil won in 1983 for her poetry collection Thirty an' Seen a Lot. 

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This page was researched and submitted by: Chelsie June Hoskins, Courtney Elizabeth Manning, Kimberly Anne Neal, Joshua David LeFevre, Nicole Kristina Busken, and Jennifer Lynne Ciancio on April 19, 2004.