Writer ire’ne lara silva hosts a workshop at the Flor de Nopal Literary Festival.
The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center presents the Flor de Nopal Literary Festival, Dec. 1-3, featuring workshops with poets and more.
How can you explain how much it hurts to know that sometimes love is better felt apart? This is a question I live with every single day. It’s a question that I have been embarrassed to struggle with, and one where I became a step closer to answering, drawing inspiration from each writer at the start of the Flor De Nopal Literary Festival on Thursday evening.
Outside The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, a single lamp illuminated writing pads, pens, crayons and drawing paper that covered a picnic table where writer ire’ne lara silva hosted her own workshop entitled Mis Muertitos/Ours: those who have passed. Here, a small group of participants shared a common ground, where writing has helped them to reflect on intimate expression and heal personal battles.
Silva, along with her younger brother poet/artist Moises Lara Silva, serves as coordinator for the Festival.
“There is so much potential here to draw strength from the festival,” said ire’ne. She is the author of furia, a poetry book written to process sadness, grief, and heartbreak.
These are emotions that people don’t necessarily want to feel, but according to ire’ne and participant and social activist Anita Quintanilla, it is a poet’s responsibility to explain the feelings that others cannot find in words.
Therein, by participating in the workshop, UT junior Edna Alaniz said sharing such private details was a “big step” in healing from the passings of both her aunt and mother.
“It’s like a gradient, sometimes you’re [going to] have those days where you can’t feel at all, other says you feel like you have the confidence to forget the world”, said Edna.
The nursing major confides that she feels her aunt through nature and says the impromptu location of the workshop “was very therapeutic” in the fact that it helped her to meditate and reminisce on memories of her loved ones.
“I feel like I will always be healing. As long as I live, I will always be healing in some form or fashion”, said Edna.
Her quote proves that having the courage to feel the emotions that come with letting go is an ongoing fight at every age and walk of life, but a struggle worth being grateful for nonetheless.
“No matter what our external circumstances are, or what our conditions are, we have to celebrate life and each other,” said ire’ne, sitting with Anita, Edna and I inside a hallway to keep warm from the night’s air.
Thus, a celebration of life is exactly what ire’ne intends the festival to be. According to the website, Flor de Nopal will feature “20 different poets from different parts of Texas”.
Silva says that the festival aims to “share poets of different backgrounds with the city,” adding that although readers aren’t “solely Latino writers, [the event] comes from that [focus and] background.”
The author said she hopes to inspire those who attend the festival. Pausing in thought, her eyes intently staring into the white-washed walls of the corridor, she continued in stating her belief that poetry is “the truest reflection and the most conscious representation of what our lives are and what they mean.”
Over the next two nights, readings will be held in the Multipurpose Room from 7-9 p.m., with ongoing workshops on Saturday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.
All festivities are located at the The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center for directions, please visit their website.