Poet Marsha de la O, a San Buenaventura Treasure

by Melinda Palacio

From: La Bloga

IMG_8257I had the pleasure of interviewing Marsha de la O in Ventura a few weeks ago. After the scandal in the New York Timesover a White poet using a Chinese name to get his work published, Marsha wanted to make sure La Bloga knew she was not Latina, but had kept her name from a previous marriage. I’ve admired Marsha’s poetry for several years and I’ve always assumed she was Chicana like me. I assured her that La Bloga readers would be grateful to hear about an exceptional, award-winning poet who was once a bilingual teacher and a former member of CABE, California Association for Bilingual Education.

Marsha arrived at poetry through prose in the form of vignettes. However, when a stranger came up to her and said, ‘You are the true poet,’ she allowed herself to believe him and even earned an MFA in poetry from Vermont College. She is an intuitive poet. She shared her poeming process with La Bloga:

“I get a fringe of an idea, the brush of a feather, that has possibility. I write a lot of words or I go to a thesaurus. I close the computer so I don’t see it. If I’m looking at it, I’m criticizing it.”

When her new book, Antidote for Night was nominated for the 2015 Isabella Gardner Poetry Award by Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Marsha was grateful for the acknowledgement, but didn’t think she had a chance of winning. “I thought my work was behind the times, too narrative, and that I was too old,” she said. “I owned the book of the previous winner and she looked so young. I didn’t expect anything so good to happen to me.” Read Rest of Article Here

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