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.
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.
Fermina has become a voice for demystifying mental illness. 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). 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, as Ponce assures us, the country mired in conflict that we all carry within. 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 are two of her poems: "Loosing" and "Truce."
You lose it,
by morning and night,
your word appeared only in its absence,
in the details that dissolve.
You lose it in kisses that don’t arrive and are lost in the street,
in your icy eight-hour work day caresses,
in the message that keeps arriving.
Days sit back to watch the five o’clock sunset,
the light in your face gets dimmer,
until you lose it,
the sigh puts distance,
so it hurts less to wait.
even if only for tonight,
a truce with no flag,
that doesn’t shed blood nor bleeds dry,
with your peaceful voice and my tune.
A truce of words tied between moons and half-healed wounds,
with an “it doesn’t hurt any more” kiss.
even if only one night,
a truce of “you rest my love,”
to cease dying,
to cease killing,
to remain from disappearing.
- Yvonne Boose is a current 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.