City’s first poet laureate launches Hispanic Heritage Month events
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 16:09
The city’s first poet laureate said her writings are successful because they come from who she is and where she comes from.
Dr. Carmen Tafolla, who read her poem “Feeding Me” Monday in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center to kickoff Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at this college, called on audience members to celebrate themselves.
She said this month celebrates the heritage each person carries with them.
“Most importantly, this month you celebrate you,” she said.
Her prose used cultural foods to embrace Hispanic heritage.
Tafolla said the month-long observation celebrates being a piece of a puzzle that makes the city great regardless of racial background.
“You have something to contribute to this world,” she said, continuing, everyone has a dream. She admonished people from thinking that because they may not feel smart or talented, they cannot achieve something.
Tafolla said she had a dream to become a writer but thought this was unattainable because she is Hispanic and had no money.
When she was 10, a library was built in her neighborhood. Once a week, she and her mother would walk to the library where Tafolla would borrow the five-book maximum, which she read from cover to cover.
Many of the books she checked out were published in New York, so she thought to become a writer, she needed to live in New York.
An early writing experience began with the line, “One day while walking through the middle of Central Park.”
It ends there; she couldn’t write about what she didn’t know.
At the end of her street lived an old lady who sold tortillas out of the front of her house.
She noticed the silver of the woman’s hair and her brown, cracked hands covered in masa and realized this was the oldest woman on the face of the earth.
Without the tortilla woman, how would anyone know about Mexican food, she thought.
As a writer, she learned she didn’t need Central Park or the Statue of Liberty to appreciate her surroundings or write about what she saw.
“Remember to celebrate yourself,” she said.