For Lee College Honors Program student Fernando Izaguirre, writing poetry has long been a way to vent frustrations and express emotions about his life and the world around him. Now his work is getting far more than personal attention.
Editors recently selected three of Izaguirre’s poems to be published in “Somos en escrito,” an online literary magazine that showcases work from Latino writers across the country. Each of his pieces featured on the site come from his collection of poetry entitled, “The Color of My Skin.”
“My grandmother cried when she heard I got published,” said Izaguirre, a first-generation college student who grew up in Anahuac but attended high school in Baytown. “As soon as I saw it, I cried.”
Izaguirre’s free-verse poetry weaves together both English and Spanish to describe the struggles many Latinos face after coming to America, from the intimidating journey across the border to the difficulty of assimilating into a new culture. The child of a single parent who emigrated from Mexico, he experienced much poverty and hardship early in life.
“Instead of getting into trouble, I just started writing things down; I used my negativity as a push to do better,“ Izaguirre said. “I had to learn some technical aspects of poetry, but it mostly comes naturally. The important thing is to be who you are. If you don’t write from the heart, it’s not going to mean anything.”
Encouraged by Lee College humanities instructor Maria Garcia, Izaguirre entered the Honors Program and anticipates graduating in May 2015 with associate degrees in both English and Mexican-American Studies. His honors instructors have also praised his writing and supported his efforts to be published. He hopes later to complete a four-year degree and begin a career as an editor, reviewing manuscripts and discovering new authors.
“It’s a good thing for people to be able to relate to my poems and know that there is someone who has gone through the same things,” Izaguirre said. “People helped me change my life, and now I want to help others do the same.”