Poetically Your Ep. 23 - Aurora Deputy Poet Laureate Pens Her Desires

Jan 8, 2021

Welcome to this week's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week features one of Aurora's deputy poet laureates, Fermina Ponce.

Aurora deputy poet laureate Fermina Ponce.
Credit Fermina Ponce

Ponce’s collections of poems Al desnudo and Mar de (L)una  -- published by Editorial Oveja Negra -- have had reverberations throughout the literary world in Latin America and in the United States. Al desnudo received a 2018 International Latino Book Award (ILBA) honorary mention for best poetry book from a single author. Mar de (L)una received a 2019 ILBA honorary mention as best poetry book from a single author. Poemas SIN NOMBRE, Filbo 2019 (International Book Fair of Bogotá) is the result of a non-existent journal that compiles her experiences from the point at which she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II (bipolar depression). Fermina has become a voice for demystifying mental illness. Her goal is that with this book of poems, a conversation might ensue despite the judgment, prejudice, stigma and the fear of what others might say that prevails. Fermina Ponce’s poetry grapples with universal themes while simultaneously addressing topics that pertain to her native country, or the country mired in conflict that we all carry within, as Ponce assures us. Her verses speak of human nature, its dualities and of everything that constitutes a certain complexity that is sometimes so simple.

In 2018 she ventured into the world of prose with René -- Colección Cuentos TRANS, From Pilsen With Love and Humor Also Rules published by MAGMA, Spain. December 2019, she was appointed as Deputy Poet Laureate for Aurora, Illinois.

Her most recent work is a translation to English of Mar de (L)una titled Moon Ocean, a book illustrated by Lee Zimmerman.

Here’s a poem from that book called “I Want.”

I want

…that my entire being rids itself of human misery,

the kind that eats carrion from someone else’s life,

without asking,

morbidly,

the kind that destroys without pity.

That my entire being denies altogether taking part of a period that keeps going,

one after another without looking back,

to the flock of sheep that covers itself in silvery white,

black, after all, has always been my color.

That my skin doesn’t lose the capacity to be moved by someone else’s pain,

by the cries of a hungry child

by the scream of a battered woman,

or the nightmares that rob that man’s sleep

who killed due to the cruelty of war;

nor by the old man’s whisper who died in oblivion.

I want my voice to get lost in tears, lamenting and cold,

to reveal itself before the other’s and my inertia,

of abundance and excess,

and not enough time to surrender oneself:

however uncomfortable,

however frightful,

however much the mother loses sleep,

or half the world is against it

and the other half is only starting to ask itself how?

That my whole being becomes the voice for my children,

and removes the blindfold of so much human misery.

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.