Afro-Brazilian lesbian poet, Brazilian Poet Ryane Leão, Cuiabá/Mato Grosso/Brazil, Everything in Her Shines and Burns: Poems of Struggle and Love by Ryane Leão, Poem Identity by Ryane Leão, Poema Identidade por Ryane Leão, Tudo Nela Brilha e Queima: Poemas de Luta e Amor por Ryane Leão
My Poetry Corner March 2022 features the poem “Identity” (Identidade) from the 2017 debut poetry collection Everything in Her Shines and Burns: Poems of Struggle and Love (Tudo Nela Brilha e Queima: Poemas de Luta e Amor) by Afro-Brazilian poet Ryane Leão. A lesbian and English language teacher, born in 1989 in Cuiabá, capital of the Center-West State of Mato Grosso, Ryane moved to São Paulo where she studied literature at the Federal University of São Paulo. Considered one of the most representative militants of Brazilian poetry today, Ryane’s poems speak mainly about female empowerment, social inequality, and the struggle against racism.
Influenced by her poetry-loving parents, Ryane grew up with a fascination for literature and began writing as a child. But she never saw herself in the stories of Brazil’s famous poets, mostly white males. That changed when she moved to São Paulo. With exposure to poetry by black women, she discovered another type of poetry that spoke to her life experience.
Her journey to penning her own stories were strewn with shards of glass, as shared in the following autobiographical poem:
how many times my mother sat on the edge of the bed and helped me remove the shards of glass from my feet and said few would deserve my love that the world would hurt me because I was born with too much heart that I had to stop being so good or I would have nothing left beyond the shards that she pulled out with care and patience planting flowers in their placeContinue reading