Latin@Heritage month at #Teatrolatinegro blog is the time we take to recognize Latin@/o/x artists, plays and art forms in the world. While we will mostly focus Afrolatina/o/@ art forms, we will feature many Latin artists from all walks of life.
I was on a plane ride to Chicago when I decided that it was time to dive into Jasminne Mendez’s book Island of Dreams. I bought it many months ago at one of her performance events where I was captivated by her skill, honesty and talent as a poet. When I opened up the book and read it within an hour, the person next to me had to check to see if I was okay because I started tearing up in some parts that hit home.
As writers, we put our lives on the page. Mendez eloquently opens Dreams with the beautiful line “As I walk, I remember, and as I remember, I try to understand how the story of my life is woven together. There are no buttons or snaps to hold it all in place.” This line reflects the messiness of life that everyone can relate to. In this memior, she takes us through the intimate moments that are “woven together” like family road trips, encounters with Afrolatinidad and her faith that have made her who she is today.
I fell in love with the fearlessness of the piece through the use of both Spanish language. She did not shy away from the use of “Mija” or the discussion on “Pelo Malo”. Instead she sings proudly the song of her cultura and the strength, beauty and light that those parts of her bring. Through her bold declaration
A bit of information on Jasminne Mendez courstey of her website: “Jasminne Mendez is a performance poet, actress, teacher and published writer. She captivates audiences through the passion and energy of her words and voice. Mendez has performed her poetry in venues all around Houston, including the MFAH, Rice and the Alley Theatre. She has shared the stage with respected writers and poets, notably, Sandra Cisneros and Taylor Mali. Mendez has been published both nationally and internationally and her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams was published by Floricanto Press in November of 2013. She is currently working on her second memoir Thick Skinned about living life with chronic illness. For more about her journey visit her blog: Chronic Brevity.”