“Women I Know” and “I Am So Visible” by Nina Serrano
THE STORY BEHIND “I AM SO VISIBLE”
Performing my poems from Heart Strong celebrating International Women’s Month with Sascha Jacobsen’s Musical Art Quintet made for a euphoric experience. I accompanied Sascha’s Quintet, with guest pianist Cesar Cancion, at Salle Piano in San Francisco on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2014. The sensuality and rich beauty of the Quintet’s music created a magic carpet that carried me away to other realms whose only entrance is through music. The musicians’ skill and passion supported and transported me, giving me the freedom to perform it fully.
The event made me remember how “I Am So Visible” was originally written as “I AM INVISIBLE”. That was the on-going lament I periodically made to my late friend, Daniel del Solar, when I was in my fifties. He would wisely reply, “But I can see you.”
Decades later, I reworked the poem for a poetry event at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco. I turned the poem’s concept on its head, going from “invisible” to “so visible.” Daniel was at the reading–what a loyal friend–to hear that I finally heard his message. The lament version is lost forever in cyberspace. I am so glad I made that transformation from feeling invisible to so visible.
Middle aged-women often tell me that the poem gives them strength and hope. It is a strength that came to me through my friendships and adventures in the struggle for self-acceptance at each stage of life.
On International Women’s Day, when I was reciting “I Am So Visible,” with the Musical Art Quintet, there was a moment during the reading that the music paused. Surprised, my voice sailed on, empowered to fill in the space where six instruments had sung. When the music returned I was enfolded once again in their celestial sound.
About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 84 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.
About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit estuarypress.com for more details.
MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; email@example.com