Artist Statement

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

Lupita Eyde-Tucker

October 2018

I write from place in my past that wants to be heard in the present and future. Having grown up in both the United States and Ecuador, and belonging to at least two different cultures, spanning two continents, 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, and the use of language to blur those lines. In my poetry I use 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 as a springboard. Many poems come from that position of duality in my life.

My favorite thing to do is to play with words, and poetry gives me that opportunity. I enjoy the challenge of using forms, and I dabble in classic poetic forms as well as hybrid forms. I also love playing with the white space on the page, shaping, breaking it, using it to create visual pieces that can be read like a music score. Space, breath, silence, and language are essential in poetry and on a good day I have implemented all of these things in a poem.

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.

When I was a teenager, in school I was exposed to the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Adolfo Becquer, Mario Benedetti, Gabriela Mistral, Federico Garcia Lorca, Miguel de Unamuno, and others. This exposure to poetic language in my second language unlocked something inside me and formed the genesis of my life as a poet. It made me sensitive to language as a conduit of deep truth, the kind of truth that resonates not just in your mind, but throughout your entire body.

Exploring the meanings of words in English,and expanding upon them, is a vital part of my work. Although Spanish isn’t my first language, it’s my secret code. Spanish is also a natural part of my poetic language, because it’s the language of my mother’s side of the family, representing something that I cherish and honor— that “otherness” that enriches my life, and when it appears in my work it brings my past into the present. But most importantly, when I engage with Spanish I am able to access the doorway to my creative self.

—Lupita Eyde-Tucker

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