Jasminne Mendez – dicusses her new book, “Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e”, Afro-Dominican roots and Journey with Scleroderma and Lupus

Jasminne Mendez is an Afro-Latina poet, educator and award winning author. She received her B.A. in English Literature and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has had poetry and essays published by or forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Acentos Review, Crab Creek Review, Texas Review, La Galeria, Label Me Latino/a, Gulf Coast, Bird’s Thumb, The Rumpus and others. Her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press, 2013) was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. Her poetry and essays have been named finalists and honorable mention for several awards including the Rose Metal Press Chapbook prize and the Barry Lopez Creative Non-Fiction prize. Recently she won the Cogswell College Magazine Poetry Prize judged by Major Jackson. She is the co-founder of Tintero Projects: A Reading & Writing Workshop Series, an organization that seeks to build and promote emerging and established Latinx writers in Houston. She is a 2017 Canto Mundo Fellow and an MFA candidate in the creative writing program at the Rainier Writer’s Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e published Art Público Press Houston, TX

For Jasminne Méndez, pericardial effusion and pericarditis are not just an abnormal accumulation of fluid and increased inflammation around the heart. It’s what happens “when you stifle the tears and pain of a miscarriage, infertility and chronic illness for so long that your heart does the crying for you until it begins to drown because its tears have nowhere to go.”

Diagnosed with scleroderma at 22 and lupus just six years later, her life becomes a roller coaster of doctor visits, medical tests and procedures. Staring at EKG results that look like hieroglyphics, she realizes that she doesn’t want to understand them: “The language of a life lived with chronic illness is not something I want to adapt to. I cannot let this hostile vocabulary hijack my story.”

The daughter of Dominican immigrants, Méndez fought for independence against her overly-protective parents, obtaining a full scholarship to college, a dream job after school and a master’s degree shortly thereafter. But the full- time job with medical insurance doesn’t satisfy her urge to write and perform, so she leaves it in search of creative fulfillment. In this stirring collection of personal essays and poetry, Méndez shares her story, writing about encounters with the medical establishment, experiences as an Afro Latina and longing for the life she expected but that eludes her.

JASMINNE MÉNDEZ is a Macondo and Canto Mundo Fellow, as well as a Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) alumna. She is the author of a multi-genre memoir, Island of Dreams (2013), winner of an International Latino Book Award. She lives and works in Houston, Texas.

Arte Público Press : https://artepublicopress.com/

Music by : Idyll Green https://soundcloud.com/idyll-green

Promo by : Sam Osborne Instagram: @yzbeatz713

Instagram: @bootleglikejazz

Author: The 7 Minutes With Q Podcast

Black American or a African-American, began in this country as a diminished experience. We were 3/5ths of a human. Subjugated, denied education, denied having family and only given the scraps. Here comes jazz, in order to learn how to play music Black folks had to learn by ear, from watching other people perform and from knowledge passed down. That’s Bootleg Like Jazz.

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