Hey beautiful people!!!
Let me tell you about the latest event. It was a rainy Saturday night, and if you know me at all you will know that I love rainy days, so I knew it was going to be a good night for celebrations and new things! So it was fitting that I went to Maria Rodriguez book release event at a quaint place in Brooklyn, named Simplicity, where she debut her first published poetry book, Brooklyn’s Daughter!!!
Everyone there showed Maria so much love. Her family and friends showed up and showed out. The outpouring love they had for her was palpable. She had a few poet friends read some of their work. She chose them because of how powerful and great they are. She was definitely amongst great people. She started off the night with the beautiful voice of Luminisa Di’Lorenzo with her band Indigesoul. Her sound was soothing yet powerful, it was poetic. The poets included in the line up were True, Roya Marsh, and Peggy Robles-Alvarado. (fyi: If you do not know who these women are please look them up!!) Maria concluded the night by reciting some of the poems in her book having the drums played as the background by the group Machete Movement. It flowed really well as well did the drinks! It was a lovely night for a beautiful person. I am glad I was there to experience that moment with her!!
I know Maria through the NYC Latina Writers Group. I’ve heard her poetry throughout various events done throughout the two years I have known of her and her work. I have to say that she is passionate about the poems she recites. You could feel exactly what the poem conveys when you hear her speak. She takes her craft seriously and is always looking for ways to expand, which she has! She is one of the cast members of Soledad Speaks and has played an important part in the production of the show.* Ad hello she published her first book of poetry!!! My hat goes off to Maria. Being a mother of four and accomplishing so much, she has shown what it means to be a renaissance woman. I don’t have any excuses!!
All I can say is that she has grit, beauty and power, which exudes with the work that she does!
I asked her a few questions to get to know her and her writing process a little better. Enjoy!!
Andreina: What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you wouldd like people to know?
Maria: I do not have a cleft chin. It’s actually a scar I received one summer in Puerto Rico. I was about five. I couldn’t reach the porcelain sink and tried brushing my teeth by balancing my elbows. Slipped and busted my chin wide open. I was creative even then.
A: What scared you the most about completing this poetry book? And how did you overcome that?
M: I’ll be honest, self doubt. Was I a good enough writer/poet to publish a book? Would it be good enough? Had I paid my dues? I have the utmost respect for the written word and the legacy paved by those that have come before me and I hoped that my poetry would reflect that. I overcame that doubt when I began work shopping my poems on stage. When I wrote for Soledad Speaks. The connection the audience had with my words cemented my belief, that yes my voice is important. We have stories to tell.
A: What were some of the obstacles if any did you have to face to complete/finish the book?
M: I didn’t have many obstacles. I had a really great team. Artist Nelson Santiago created the artwork, which became my book cover. Graphics Designer Sal Acosta worked his magic on fonts, sizing and dimensions for my front and back cover. Charlie Vazquez edited and Emanuel Xavier wrote my forward. I knew what I wanted and was blessed enough to have these wonderful people deliver.
A: What were the good parts of going through the writing process? (I might word it differently but you get the idea)
M: Many of these poems were written over a period of time. Other than the Anthology “Me No Habla With Acento” my work had never been published in book form. Sometimes I would get a burst of inspiration and my pen wouldn’t stop. Within minutes I had a new poem. I posted some on social media and the responses were very positive. I knew those poems would make it into my book.
A: If you could go back what advice would you give yourself about this journey of writing poetry?
M: If I could go back I wouldn’t change anything. Things happen when they’re supposed to and I believe every connection I’ve made, every open mic I’ve done, every work shop I’ve attended has prepared me for now. This moment.
A: Is there anything you would do differently?
M: I wouldn’t have done anything differently because it’s all been a learning experience. The times I’ve bombed, forgotten lines, did a shitty piece, all those moments humbled me. Taught me to go home, rewrite, rehearse, remember and come back harder. I wanted respect from my contemporaries and ultimately I got it.
A: From your book, which one is your favorite poem? And why?
M: Ahhh my favorite poem question. This book is my baby, so you know you’re basically asking me to choose which one of my babies I love the most! Ok, since I have to choose, I’d say “Straight Shootin’ “. It serves as a reminder to always speak your peace 🙂
A: Why should people read your poetry?
M: I’d like people to read my poetry because it’s speaks to everyone. There’s pride, culture. grit, humor, love, pain, strength and it was written by a teenage mother from Brooklyn. I’m no different than anyone willing to dream and live and live their dream.
Finish the statement:
My legacy will be in the written word
This book means that I’m ready to write my second
My inspiration is everything everywhere.
Love is simple but we make it hard
Renaissance means rebirth. It’s a beautiful thing.
Thank you Maria for sharing your words with us!!! Thank you for telling us your story!! Thank you!! I love the work you do and how you do it!! Love the book!!
If you want to purchase her book please go to mescribidora.wordpress.com
I suggest you get it because it is real, you will be able to connect with her words and you will love it!!! I’m just saying.
If you have read it, which one is your favorite poem? Please share.
Then I’ll tell you mine.
Bueno mi gente, this has been beauty, brains and blogging approved!!
*for more info on her bio and work you can check her out at www.thefiercewoman.com where she is featured for the week ending the 8th of April because she is a fierce woman!