SPONSORED POST: How My Mom’s Poetry Led Me To #InspireOrgullo Through My Writing
DISCLOSURE: This post is part of Orgullosa’s #InspireOrgullo campaign and compensation was provided for my participation therein.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Orgullosa and Latina Bloggers Connect. The opinions and text are all mine.
There’s an image from my childhood in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico that has stayed with me throughout my whole life and, quite possibly, shaped my desire to study Literature in college and to become a writer, to document not just my experiences and thoughts but those of my eclectic, dynamic, strong, beautiful, diverse Latino community. It’s been nearly 30 years, but the image remains clear: my mother sitting in front of a typewriter at the early hours of dawn, before the sun had even fully risen, pecking away at the keys with her delicate finger, her nails painted a classic red. It was a familiar sight during my elementary school years when my mom would often tiptoe out of the bedroom and into her office space to write a poem because, as she put it, “llegó la musa” (which loosely translates to “inspiration struck”). In 1985, when I was just six years old, my mom published her own book of poetry, Desde el Alma. The book was her opus — not because it was a commercial success (my mother was a simple woman who never cared for frivolities), but because it allowed everyone a glimpse into her brilliant mind, her kind and artistic soul. When you read her poems, you felt like you held her heart in between your hands, like you could sense it throbbing due to the intensity with which she loved and lived.
There’s one poem in Desde el Alma, “Un Canto A Mi Gente”, which my mother dedicated to all her compatriotas, to all the souls living in the island of Puerto Rico with her and breathing the same air. Every time I read it, my heart swells with pride — and hopefully, when I share it with you, it will make have a similarly uplifting effect for you as well.
Here’s the poem in its original version:
Un Canto A Mi Gente
Bajo un mismo sol, sobre un mismo suelo
con distinto andar, con distintos sueños,
somos diferentes, pero sumos uno
Bajo un mismo sol, sobre un mismo suelo.
Los hay que trabajan, otros solo sueñan
unos tienen mucho, otros casi nada.
Pero todos lloran, ríen, viven, mueren
bajo un mismo sol, sobre un mismo suelo.
Somos diferentes, pero somos uno
los mismos mañanas, los mismos anhelos
Compartiendo sol, sueños, cielo, y suelo.
And here’s an English translation of the poem:
A Song For My People
Under the same sun, atop the same soil
with different gaits, with different dreams
We’re all different, but we are one.
There are some who work, other who only dream
some have a lot, others almost nothing
But all cry, laugh, live and die
under the same sun, atop the same soil.
We’re all different, but we are one
the same tomorrows, the same longings
sharing sun, dreams, sky, and soil.
Not only did my mom inspire me to write honestly, viscerally, with passion and integrity, but she made me want to continue her “canto,” to continue singing — or, rather, writing —for my community. Over the years, I’ve written for countless print and online publications that celebrate Latino culture. I’ve also written my own poems and stories, which I hope to share with the world soon, and which have been heavily influenced by the many great Latin American novelists, poets, and journalists to whom my other introduced me.
Now, during Hispanic Heritage month, it’s time to honor the rich literary contributions made by these authors and countless other Latin American and Latino writers. For me, it’s also a time to remember my mom, my original literary inspiration, the woman who taught me how to be proud of my culture, my heritage, my traditions, and to let that inner beauty shine through in my everyday life and in my own art, my own written work. Here she is, looking magnificent, with my older brother and me outside our home in Guaynabo:
But, of course, inspirational Latinas exist in every realm: from literature and visual arts to film, fashion, beauty, politics, technology, education, and much more.
This month, join Orgullosa in celebrating our gente and watch its newly launched video series, which features four inspiring bicultural Latinas: Orange Is The New Black star Dascha Polanco, Hispanic Global founder Jeanette Kaplun, tech entrepreneur Laura Gomez, and Voto Latio President & CEO Maria Teresa Kumar. Each of these trail-blazing, game-changing women is immensely proud of her heritage and each woman’s experience is decidedly unique, making this video series an excellent example of the mosaic of cultural experiences within the Latino community.
Take a look at the videos featuring Dascha Polanco and Maria Teresa Kumar:
Watch more videos about Latino pride at: http://bit.ly/OrgullosaVideos
What Latina has inspired your work? How do you #InspireOrgullo in your everyday life?