|dc.description.abstract||Poetry has been good to me. When I was a younger, I was an avid reader. Often I chose to stay in the library en vez de recess. But then, I fell off the reading path when I was about 12, as most boys do. During my senior year of high school, I was introduced to T.S. Eliot by my senior English teacher. That was the first time I entertained the thought that a poem could be a magnificent and complex thing. But again, I fell off the reading path. It wasn?t until my sophomore year of college that I became a voracious reader, and with the help of my professors, began to produce poetry of my own. Since then, poetry has guided me to the hidden worlds of lightness and dark, of joyous occasions and jolting sadness. It has allowed me to express myself in new ways, to give and find new meanings in words, and construct new words themselves.
My thesis was written over the course of nearly two years, and a lot has happened during that time: presidential elections, relationships building and breaking, travelling and standing still. Throughout these poems, and especially between sections, there may be significant changes in voice and tone, this is a creative consequence of the temporal nature of things and the work itself. My creative thesis is composed in three sections. The first primarily deals with poems generated by autobiographical content; the second wrestles with historical and present issues of social and racial inequity; the third plays with poetic convention and voice.
Opening the work is the poem ?Mestizaje,? which hints at the cultural intermixing of American Indian, Spanish, and Mexican people. It is a word that also describes the process of racial and cultural intermixing. Its noun form in English, mestizo, is used to describe a person of mixed decent. Over the course of history, this word has been used as an insult, but for some, like myself, it has been a lamp in a dark night. Hence, the use of plurilingual poems acknowledges the diverse nature of language, identity, and images present in the work.
In search of generative material, I often looked to James Baldwin. His book of poems, Jimmy?s Blues, was my go-to whenever I was stuck with myself or my poems. Likewise, I also pulled strongly from my time spent with Jim Harrison, Billy Collins, Julia Santibáñez, Eduardo Corral, and Russell Edson among a myriad of other poets. By exploring poetry across topic and time, I was fortunate enough to learn from the poems of others and strengthen my voice and structures. Their influence can be found in many an idea and stylistic element.
For instance, the epigraph that opens the work is from Julia Santibáñez?s work, Ser Azar. It serves to invite the reader into the work. In English, the epigraph reads, ?Come. We will be.? By using the first-person plural, I am asking the reader to join the work as we journey across voice and scene. Likewise, I find Julia?s lyric even more important since it is in Spanish, the language of my culture and people. Looking at ?Mestizaje? specifically, I open with an epigraph from James Baldwin?s poem, ?Jimmy?s Blues.? In doing so, I hope to set the tone of the poem. Since James Baldwin had an extremely politicized voice, I believe it sets a political stage for the reader and begins to shape the poem before the reader enters its world.
The poems in each section have a different tone, and at times those tones can be angry or confused. However, I end the work with ?Gratitude Power Ballad? because I truly am grateful for the opportunities I have been blessed with and the home poetry has built for me. I have tried to steal like an artist and make my poems distinct while acknowledging that I borrow from those before me. I will never stop writing poetry, and with the completion of this manuscript, I mark a milestone in my nascent career as a writer and lifelong learner.||