Photo Credit: The Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom
My Poetry Corner September 2018 features the poem “Mary Comes Down” from the poetry collection Thank You For Dreaming by Jeannine M. Pitas. Native of Buffalo, New York, Pitas is a poet, writer, teacher, and Spanish-English literary translator. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto, Canada. She currently lives in Dubuque, Iowa, where she is an Assistant Professor of English and Spanish at the University of Dubuque.
Pitas dedicates the poems in this collection “to those who dream.” She writes in her poem, “thank you for dreaming”:
you have made it to this adopted country
with your heart intact
and you will use it to find people
like you, once silenced –
touched and held
by your dreams
In “Just after my mother tells me she voted for Trump,” Pitas questions her mother’s xenophobia. Had her mother forgotten that she had sent Jeannine to Polish Saturday School and that Jeannine’s Polish great-grandmother had refused to speak English?
America First, American carnage, make America
great again, pass the ban, build the wall,
Mama, Mamusia, tell me –
Where on earth do you think we came from?
Who the hell can we say we are?
Rejecting the divisive politics of xenophobia and hate, Pitas seeks connection with the Other. “I want to touch your life with mine,” she repeats twice in her poem, “To an Immigrant.” Continue reading