Living My Dream

My name is Mari-Carmen Marín. I was born in Málaga, Spain, but moved to Houston, TX, in 2003, where I have found my second home. I am a professor of English at Lone Star College—Tomball, and enjoy dancing, drawing, reading, and writing poetry in my spare time. From an early age, I loved making up and telling stories (I occasionally got in trouble because of them), and I have always had a whole world living in my mind with different voices talking to me, sometimes quietly, others loudly, sometimes individually, others on top of each other. For a long time, I wrote in a diary to try to make sense of what they said and why they said it. I own seven of those diaries, full of experiences, thoughts, feelings that sometimes I use for inspiration.  However, a few years after I crossed the Atlantic to live in the U.S., I began to use poetry as a way of self-expression, and soon it became a challenge to create beauty, to transform the ordinary into art. Nowadays, writing poetry is my comfy chair in front of a fireplace on a stormy winter day; it brings warmth, comfort; it provides a window through which I can see myself and the world from a perspective I can understand.

There are so many poets that I admire: Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Sharon Olds, Naomi Shihab Nye, Pat Mora, Ted Kooser, Ellen Bass, Billy Collins, Marie Howe, Danusha Lameris, Donald Hall, Sarah Key . . ., but one poet that had a big influence on me was Tony Hoagland. I had the pleasure of being his student in a three-day workshop he taught in Houston back in 2014 entitled “Five Powers of Poetry.” He introduced me to the existence of a muscle I was not aware of having before: “the muscle of specificity,” which I have been exercising and using in my poetry since then.

Many of my poems have been published in different literary journals and anthologies in the past three years, including Wordriver Literary Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Dash Literary Journal, Months to Years, The Awakenings Review, Lucky Jefferson, San Fedele Press, Willowdown Books, The Comstock Review, The Green Light Literary Journal, Mothers Always Write, Breath & Shadow, The Ekphrastic Review, Poets’ Choice, iō Literary Journal, Kaleidoscope, Toho Journal Online, Poetica Review, Sepia Journal, Litbreak Magazine, or Magnolia Review. In June this year, my debut book, Swimming, Not Drowning, will be published by Legacy Book Press, a memoir in verse about my journey through anxiety and depression, and I am currently working on putting together another poetry book, in which many of my poems will be ekphrastic.

I have always admired art and artists, especially painters, musicians, and writers. Art has the ability to touch our hearts in a transformative way. Since an early age, my dream has been to make a difference in this world, to touch other people’s hearts in the way that so many artists have touched mine, and what a better way to try to make a difference than creating and spreading beauty through poetry? I am currently living my dream and will continue living it as long as my muse keeps me company and I have an audience to listen to her through me.