I began writing poetry as an undergraduate student in English at Mercyhurst College (now Mercyhurst University) in Erie, Pennsylvania. My first poems attempted to follow the patterns and themes of the poems I read in my classes. They were lyrical, fell into lines of rhyming couplets, and focused on love found and lost.
But in my senior year, I was introduced to the poetry of Martín Espada, a Puerto Rican poet, and my view of poetry quickly changed. I became aware that the issues that had the most impact on my life, discovering an ethnic identity, growing up in poverty, coping with an alcoholic parent, were fit subjects for poetry. Reading Espada, helped me discover a truer, more authentic voice.
The poems published in this section are representative of some of the issues I explore in my writing as I continue to develop that voice.