Book review: Para Cenar Habra Nostalgia
Whenever you come across a book that shifts your whole outlook on your cultural identity, it is important to talk about it. Para Cenar Habrá Nostalgia was a book that I saw floating around social media for months and I knew that eventually I would pick it up and read it, but I was taking my time because I knew this book of poems was going to have a great impact on me and I was right. This collection had so many wonderful poems and I loved learning about Dominican culture through the eyes of Fior E. Plasencia. The mixture between Spanish and English made me feel right at home. Some poems were longer than others, and some were in Spanglish, but one thing remained constant while reading this book of poetry, and that was the feeling of belonging and being proud of my Dominican culture. Plasencia brings to light so many of the hardships that immigrants like herself faced and still face when coming to live permanently in the United States.
Being born in America to Dominican parents, sometimes it’s hard for me to feel like I can claim that I am Dominican, because I’ve never experienced living or growing up over there, and whenever someone asked me where I was from and I would say Dominican, they would always tell me “Dominicana? niña tu eres Americana” and when I would claim I was American but my parents were Dominican, they would say “Y que tienes verguenza de ser Dominicana?”
Mi madre me dijo que obtuviera una educación para no limpiar con sus lágrimas inodoros que no pertenecen a mis manos. Llorar no quería verme ella dentro de una burbuja que solo las injusticias romper pueden. "Vaya por delante en el concreto suelo de ignorantes y consiga su carrera", -ella insistió. Sabía poco ella de otras atrocidades que escritas en inglés están y nunca entendidas son por su inglés dominicano y al terminar la universidad me vacían por el desagüe. En lo más bajo de la pirámide estaba. ¡Mi madre me dijo! Mi madre me aconsejó... pero el agua desde la parte superior mis sueños daña todavía yo, no sé quien ¿soy? Soy…" Fior Plasencia
Para Cenar Habrá Nostalgia really just opened my eyes to the things and people my parents gave up when they came to the United States and made me feel so much closer to my Dominican roots. It also opened my eyes to the struggles that not just Dominicans, but any immigrant who leaves their home to come to a country that does not really embrace them, or their culture constantly face. In the poems that I read I saw my mother and it made me appreciate her more and all that she has done for me and my siblings. It also made me wonder who my parents would have been if they would have stayed in the Dominican Republic and it makes me sad to think of the people my parents could have been if they did not have kids and were able to pursue an education after coming to the United States.
I will be honest, I feel guilty. The guilt that I carry is not only because I feel like I stopped my parents from being who they could have been, but it’s also because of the ignorance that I’ve lived in for many years, not asking questions about my parents culture, not wanting to visit DR anymore after I got older because the lights would go out and there was nothing to do after seven pm, guilty because I’ve never acknowledged the privilege I have over some of my cousins who struggle for the simple things that I take for granted.
This book of poems has just really woken me up to create a dialogue and to just be more aware of what’s going on around me and to ask questions, to educate myself and to use my voice for the voiceless. This was such a great book of poems and it really moved me, and if you haven’t read it yet…que estas esperando?
Glendalee Diaz is a Dominican-American born and raised in New York. She is a former high school English teacher, who is currently working on her M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning English. She self-published a book of poems and prose titled Café con Leche through Amazon Kindle. Although writing is not her full-time occupation, she hopes to always be surrounded by stories and get back into the classroom to teach students how powerful words can be. Find her on Instagram.com/grenuda12