Artist Statement

“…every poem breaks a silence that had to be overcome…” Adrienne Rich

I write from place in my past that wants to be heard in the present and future. Much of what I write comes from questions I had that were never answered, which lead me to examine my past experiences as a child living as “other” in my own country, the United States, and growing up as “other” as a teenager and young adult in my adopted country, Ecuador. Many poems come from that position of duality in my life.

Having assimilated different cultures across two continents, juxtaposed like fillings in a sandwich, the weight of culture on identity is a theme that I am compelled to explore. I am continually fascinated by the struggle between perception versus reality.

My children are a joyous and inextricable part of my life that deepens these musings even more, and sometimes allows me to exist in a constant state of wonderment, and if I have the time to write those ideas and thoughts down I often end up with some very satisfying poems.

As the mother of four girls and one boy, relating to each child at their individual stages in life puts me back in touch with my own childhood, uncovering all sorts of themes to think and write about. My desire to nurture my children, and to help them recognize the privileges that they are growing up with, gives me a point of entry into writing about my own experiences, with a fresh perspective that feels like a gift.

Jane Hirshfield says, “If a poem holds only what we already understand and are comfortable with, we wouldn’t need the poem.” For me writing poems is an act of translation, crossing over from one state of mind to another— finding a thread that runs through all of my experiences, perceptions, and coming up with new understandings.

Words in English can take on myriad meanings, and exploring those meanings and expanding upon them is a vital part of my work. Occasionally, a word in Spanish will pop up in one of my poems, and I love when that happens because although Spanish isn’t my first language, it is my secret code. It’s the language of my mother’s side of the family, representing something that I cherish and honor— that “otherness” that now enriches my life, and when it appears in my work it brings my past into the present. It is not lost on me how important it is that my children are witnesses of this transformation, both in real life and on the page.

—Lupita Eyde-Tucker

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