Writer Emmy Pérez shares her passion for poetry with St. Edward’s students

Emmy Pérez is a Chicanx poet from Santa Ana, California. Pérez visited St. Edwards students virtually for a reading and Q&A last week.

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Emmy Pérez is a Chicanx poet from Santa Ana, California. Pérez visited St. Edward’s students virtually for a reading and Q&A last week.

St. Edward’s students and faculty were treated to a special Zoom webinar hosted by the Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writer Series on Sept. 30. Poet Emmy Pérez, author “With the River on Our Face” and “Solstice,” read several poems from her collection. 

Emmy Pérez started her readings with the first poem from her latest book, “With the River on Our Face”. As Pérez read the poem, participants of the Zoom meeting saw  the passion she put into her words. As she concluded the first poem she explained where it originated from.

“I wrote this poem when riding my bike through the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. I recorded a draft and I transcribed it,” Pérez said. “This was the [first] poem I ever spoke a draft and it was really fun to do.” 

Most of her poems are love poems to people or to the land, but she also writes about current issues as a sort of love poem to humanity. 

“Most poets are writing from a different point of view and what we don’t read in the newspaper or from what we see on Twitter,” Pérez said.

Pérez continued to her next poem, “Not One More Refugee Death.” The poem was filled with so much emotion, she began to tear up as she read every word. 

“I wrote “Not One More Refugee Death” in 2014, after I heard that a young man died after crossing the river, but unfortunately he died from heat exhaustion,” Pérez said. “I attended the vigil and wanted to share what I saw, but also I wanted to raise awareness about the human side and how we folks living on the borderlands respond to these sad deaths.” 

Pérez completed her readings with several unfinished poems that have yet to be published, then answered a few questions from the audience.

“It has been a release for me to write them out. The drafting process is the exciting part, as I will sit for hours writing or go for a walk and write down a draft on paper,” Pérez said. “The hardest part of the writing process is the revision process. This is where you have to tweak and make changes.” 

As the Q&A came to a close, she left the audience in attendance with some advice for anyone who is a writing major or wants to approach writing as a hobby.

“Just believe in yourself and know that you have the magic inside of you and you just have to cultivate it and know what works for you. That just means sitting in a chair for several hours, for me at least,” Perez said.

Emmy Pérez’s collection of poems can be purchased on the online bookstore of the Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writers Series.