Sandra Cisneros: author, poet, teacher.
I met Cisneros in an 8th grade literature book —
not when I was in the 8th grade since she is younger than I,
but as a teacher of 8th grade language arts. Her writing voice falls in that category known sometimes as Hispanic. You will find Spanish words and sentences throughout her writing. Her book, The House on Mango Street, gives the reader a view of Puerto Rican and Chicano culture in Chicago and can be found on middle school and high school required reading lists or as excerpts in literature books.
Her newest book, Have You Seen Marie?, caught my eye on the New Books shelf at my local library. At first glance, it seems to be written for children since nearly every page has colorful illustrations. At second glance those spare words that only a poet can create tells two stories about loss and grief.
In the Afterward she wrote:
In the spring after my mother died, a doctor wanted to prescribe pills for depression. “But if I don’t feel,” I said, “how will I be able to write?” (p.90)
Cisneros used this quote to begin her book:
It’s then I ask you, mama, my mother, my heart, my mother, my heart, my mother, mama, the sadness I feel. Where do I put it? Where, mama?
Elena Poniatowska, La Flor de Lis
In her brief Afterward she captures in such spare statements some essentials that resonate in my soul’s grief. She wrote the book to have something to give other people who were in mourning, “to help them find balance.”
Bullet points of Truth:
- I wish somebody had told me love does not die, that we can continue to receive and give love after death. (91)
- I wrote this story in the wake of death . . . slow by slow, little by little. (91)
- It is essential to create when the spirit is dying. (93)
- Creating nourishes the spirit.(93)
- There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it. (94)
A poet’s heart speaking tender words from a grieving heart.
Counting these joys today:
- friends who make plans for tonight to be together “just because”
- the beauty of spring on this sunny but chilly day
- precious memories of those who no longer walk this earth
- discovering my purpose in a different stage of life
- writers whose words inspire, motivate, and come from deep places in their souls
- God’s grace
- the journal of thanks that pulls my heart closer to God