‘Voices of Women’ gets intimate with Bakersfield College students

Michael Wafford
March 17, 2010
Filed under Features

Bakersfield College professors treated the community to a night of poetry on March 11 in BC’s Fireside Room.

Rosa Garza and Emeritus Nancy Edwards read poems for the event titled “Voices of Women.” Garza, a BC alumni and Chicano studies professor, and Edwards, a retired BC creative writing professor, read a series, mostly about their experiences in life and as women.

According to Edwards, “Voices of Women,” along with the other Women and the Arts events in March, were started to honor women in the arts.

The poems ranged in topic from sisters, to hospital visits, to Garza’s godmother Chicha, to train-yard meetings, to being Chicana. The poems were well received by the crowd, which gave several sitting ovations. When asked how she felt about the readings, BC student Joselin Dorado, biology major, said “I write poetry myself so I really get inspired by them. I hope to one day have a presentation myself.”

Several of the poems dealt with intimate details of life that some people would have trouble sharing with strangers. When asked how she felt about sharing intimate details of her life, Edwards said, “At first it’s difficult, but you get used to it. You put ego aside and share the truth.”

Garza said, “I don’t mind sharing my life.” When asked if she ever felt nervous, Garza said, “I’m always nervous, I’m nervous right now. I love what I do.”

Edwards and Garza are both lifelong poets and have always enjoyed writing. The two are currently working on publishing a collection of their poems and asked the audience to tell them which ones they would like to see collected.

Edwards and Garza went into detail about their experiences with higher education. Garza, who took a break after earning her bachelor’s degree, returned to college after having three children. When asked about her school experiences, Garza said, “I wasn’t very good in high school, hated it. I loved college and the freedom to study what you want.”

When asked what it was like to return to school after having a family, Garza said, “I was more mature as a student, I was an A student, before I was probably a C student.”

Edwards has been published in various literary publications throughout the country, including “Derros, Forums, and Orpheus,” Cal State Bakersfield’s annual literary journal.

Edwards has also written song lyrics for 30 years. She currently writes for composer Dr. Howard Quilling, and groups around the country perform the lyrics she provides. When asked about how writing song lyrics differ from poetry, Edwards said, “You have to factor in the sounds of the words because it’s going to be sung. That’s not existent in poetry.”

Edwards and Garza are alumni of San Jose State University and met while Garza was taking a creative writing course taught by Edwards.

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