Cristian Newman

REDI Lab Project: Poetics of Heritage by Joanna Cotto

I started getting into poetry at a very young age; when I was introduced to it in school, my mom took me to the library to read some Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz. She was a Mexican poet, and she wrote poems about love, feminism, and religion. The catalyst for my love of poetry, a lot of her pieces would be protest pieces, which in turn made me fascinated with activism through writing, and so I asked my family for more stories. My grandmother told me stories of the protests she went to in Mexico, demanding for equal education. After hearing this I realized my purpose: Oral tradition is big in my family. I come from a line of protesters, writers and activists. I write to preserve my history and pay tribute to everyone who has fought for me to be where I am today. My project for REDI Lab is to write a chapbook. A chapbook is just a small paperback booklet that usually contains poems or fiction. I set the goal of writing 25 poems for this chapbook.

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot, especially because of the political climate, but I need to get out of my comfort zone and try writing about something different. I have about 3-4 finished(ish) new pieces and about 9 more that are a couple lines that will eventually transform into finished poems. I’m excited because I don’t know where this will go. I am experimenting with my writing style: using color as a theme, writing love poems, writing odes. Usually when I write it’s to win slams and the style of all the poems I compete with are pretty similar. But how you perform a piece is very different from how it is read on paper so I’ve been switching styles of writing. I need more prompts/inspiration for new poems, so I’ll be asking my peers for some help. Thankfully, there are poets online I can draw inspiration from and sample their styles of writing.