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About the Author: Jaime De Angulo

Jaime de Angulo (1887–1950) was a linguist, novelist, and ethnomusicologist in the western United States. He was born in Paris of Spanish parents. He came to America in 1905 to become a cowboy, and eventually arrived in San Francisco on the eve of the great 1906 earthquake. He lived a picaresque life including stints as a cowboy, medical doctor and psychologist.[1] He survived a suicide attempt after cutting his throat from ear to ear in Berkeley. He became a linguist who contributed to the knowledge of certain Northern California Indian languages, as well as some in Mexico.
He began his career at the University of California, Berkeley in the early 1920s, shortly after his marriage to L. S. (“Nancy”) Freeland. During this period he and his wife lived among many native Californian tribes, often becoming fully integrated into their daily lives, in an attempt to study their cultures, languages and music. As a linguist he contributed to the knowledge of more than a dozen native Northern Californian and Mexican languages and music-systems. De Angulo was particularly interested in the semantics of grammatical systems of the tribes he studied, but he was also a skilled phonetician and a pioneer in the study of North American ethnomusicology, particularly in his recordings of native music. De Angulo corresponded with Franz Boas, Alfred L. Kroeber, and Edward Sapir, and received considerable support for his fieldwork from Boas’s Committee on American Native Languages.
In the end, de Angulo’s Bohemian lifestyle kept him from pursuing a normal academic career, and his involvement in Native American research effectively came to an end following the death of his son Alvar in an automobile accident in 1933 and his retreat to an isolated hilltop ranch at Big Sur.[2] At this point his writings took a wild turn into fiction and poetry. Much of his fictional work attempted to recognize and embrace the native "coyote tales", or the trickster wisdom inherent in native storytelling. Ezra Pound called him "the American Ovid" and William Carlos Williams "one of the most outstanding writers I have ever encountered." de Angulo also went on to tutor numerous famous authors including Jack Spicer in linguistics, and Robert Duncan in North American shamanic sorcery; he appears as a character in Jack Kerouac's books.
Perceptions of de Angulo swing wildly; he is seen alternately as a gifted but irresponsible and failed amateur, to an ‘‘Old Coyote,’’ an anarchist hero and talented subversive [1]. De Angulo shaped and diversified the scholarly picture of the native Californian landscape. He was friend and colleague to poets, composers, and scholars such as Harry Partch, Henry Miller, Robinson Jeffers, Henry Cowell, Carl Jung, D. H. Lawrence, and many others.

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Collected Poems of Jaime De Angulo by

Goodreads rating: 4.80

Paperback, Published in May 2006 by La Alameda Press

ISBN10: 1888809477 | ISBN13: 9781888809473

Page count: 217

Jaime de Angulo (1887-1950) was born in Paris to Spanish parents. He came to America in 1905, found work as a cowboy, and ended up in San Francisco the day before the Great Earthquake in 1906. A picaresque life followed as a homesteader in Big Sur, medical doctor, psychologist, renowned linguist, and novelist. As a linguist, de Angulo contributed to the knowledge of many Northern Californian tribal languages, as well as ethnomusicological investigations. He lived among the tribes he studied and tried to become integrated into their daily lives. Much of his life and work exemplifies his recognition of the trickster wisdom in their native 'coyote tales'. Invited by Mabel Dodge Luhan to visit Taos, he turned out to be a vivid chapter in her artistic circle. Brilliant and eccentric, Ezra Pound called him 'the American Ovid'.

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