Tag Archives: poetry

LIC poet set to release second book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mike Geffner

One Long Island City resident has turned her heartache into poetry and will soon be releasing her second book.

Audrey Dimola, who has been living in the western Queens neighborhood all her life, is set to release her book “Traversals,” a collection of poetry and prose, on Nov. 3.

Unlike her first book called “Decisions We Make While We Dream,” a collection spanning 12 years of poetry and prose released in 2012, her new book reflects on specific events in her life that took place between the fall of 2011 and present day.

“That’s why I ended up calling it ‘Traversals’ because it ends up being about the journey, survival and going through heartbreak, going through loss and losing yourself and then finding yourself,” Dimola said. “My motto after that became to turn your ache into art.”

In the 176-page self-published book, Dimola uses poetry and prose to reflect on the hardships she faced in losing a loved one, ending a long-term relationship and then growing from the obstacles.

“It makes me pull back and realize that everything has a purpose and everything happens for a reason. And I wouldn’t be in this wonderful place that I am in right now if all those things wouldn’t have happened,” Dimola said. “I hope to be able to help other people.”

BOOK - promo shot

The poet also said putting the book together was an emotional experience, as she looked back on the events in her life. However, she sees the book as a way to honor the events and people that were a part of them.

“[The book] is the beginning of becoming the person that I am, breaking out of the shell and breaking out of myself,” Dimola said. “It’s just a wonderful milestone.”

Strongly involved in the Queens literary community, Dimola recently took part in open mic nights as part of the series The Inspired Word at COFFEED in Long Island City. She said she sees the art community growing and thinks it is important for artists not to be afraid of putting their work out there.

“I just want to stress to artists to not be afraid. In this day and age it is a lot easier to get your work out,” she said. “It is important to support each other, keeping the [art] community up and being brave.”

A formal release party of “Traversals” is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Q.E.D., located at 27-16 23rd. Ave. in Astoria, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The launch party will also feature poetic, musical and dance performances by other artists.

For more information visit www.audreydimola.com.

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Flushing woman uses experience in advice column for undocumented youth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Angy Rivera

Angy Rivera, a formerly undocumented immigrant, knew which words she wanted to let out when she was invited to take the stage at Flushing Town Hall last month.

In her original poem, “Community Not Condominiums,” the 23-year-old Flushing resident describes in detail the communities of Jackson Heights, Flushing and Corona through following a food vendor named “Doña María.”

Doña María is up before the sun rises
Moon shining on her face she gets ready for the morning commute
It’s her job to feed others
Moon shining on her face ella empieza a cocinar arepas, tamales, café y chocolate
Arepas made with corn and cheese
They start to melt as soon as they touch your mouth.

“At first I thought, ‘Oh wait, what if someone doesn’t understand that,” Rivera said about writing the poem in both Spanish and English. “But that’s how it is here in Queens.”

The college junior, who is studying culture and deviance with a minor in human services at John Jay College, said she felt pride when writing the poem for being part of “such a beautiful community” and remembering all the great details of each neighborhood. Yet, she said she also felt sadness when thinking about the idea of growing up and facing changes.

How will Doña María sell her tamales, arepas, café y chocolate
When the streets becomes businesses she cannot pronounce
Will her café con leche compete with Starbucks?
These signs of a cleaner and safer Queens erase the resiliency already here
We weren’t dirty to begin with
Will her house stand untouched during gentrification?

“That’s what I wanted to make sure came across, as much as it’s a celebration of Queens, on the flipside it’s about things we can lose,” she said.

This wasn’t the first time Rivera’s words reached a much larger audience. In 2009 she joined the nonprofit New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first volunteer undocumented youth and membership led organization started in 2007, as an intern.

The Colombian-native, who was undocumented for 19 years and has recently obtained a visa, went on to create a national undocumented youth advice column in 2010 called “Ask Angy.”

“It was the first time I met with other immigrant young people that wanted to change things that they saw unjust,” said Rivera, who immigrated with her family to the United States just one week shy of her fourth birthday. “Through them I grew as a person.”

Now as a core member of the organization, she helps out in the media/outreach and arts/self-expression programs. Through her weekly column, she said she gets people writing to her from all around the nation about different subjects undocumented youths face, such as driving without a license and deferred action.

Although she said it is tricky at times because she doesn’t always have answers, especially when it comes to legal topics, she said the column has helped her learn different laws depending on states.

“Being involved helped me become more open about a lot of things and helped me learn a lot of new stuff,” she said. “It’s been very healing to meet other people in the same situation as you. It’s always been nice to have a group to understand.”

Continuing her involvement in activism, Rivera has also become part of Queens Neighborhoods United, a coalition created to build power and develop leadership in Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. The group recently has gone around cleaning the streets down Roosevelt Avenue.

Rivera now plans to recite “Community Not Condominiums” at a new quarterly series called “Queens Documented,” which launches on July 20 at Terraza 7 located at 40-19 Gleane St. in Elmhurst and features stories and music from people who migrated to Queens.

To read Rivera’s full poem, click here.

 

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