Self Interview of Gabriela Ybarra Lemmons

What is the working title of your manuscript?

The original title was Apparitions Creeping between Venetian Blinds; however, it will likely be changed to Chronology of Grief.

What genre does it fall under?

Poetry (bilingual, free verse, prose, and hybrid)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This collection of thirty-three poems is a result of my Master’s Thesis.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Apparitions Creeping between Venetian Blinds.

This sentence is the last line of the last poem in the collection. The word apparition, in both English and Spanish, recurs in several of my poems. Also, the word venetian blind physically places me in the location of my experiences. In the manuscript, apparitions are characters who continually appear to haunt the senses; they are often terrifying and veiled. We fear these apparitions creeping behind the venetian blinds. Thus, we keep the venetian blinds shut, fearing they will expose our sorrow and vulnerabilities.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took approximately three years to complete this manuscript. A third of this manuscript was written over a period of six months.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

Unearthed grief inspired me to write this collection. Grief stemming from the displacement of a rich Latino culture (South Texas), from physical and emotional abuse, and from the experiences of perceived and realized racial prejudices.

Also, my extended family - The Latino Writers Collective supported me as I exposed these exceptionally painful and repressed memories.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The collection was recently completed, and I have not decided on a publishing direction.

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

I don’t feel qualified to answer this question because the collection is very personal; it incurs many stages of unearthed grief. The voice of this collection spans adolescence thru adulthood.

If I was pushed to compare some of the poems to other works, I would have to say the poetry of Judith Ortiz Cofer.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?


What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?

The following themes might pique a reader’s interest: grief, recovery from grief, domestic violence, racism, geographical displacement, mother/daughter conflict, using humor to combat grief, the celebration of a culture, innate optimist, survival, and the bilingual voice of a Tejana from the Rio Grande Valley.


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Latino Writers Collective General Operating Support is recipient of the NFA grant. The NFA grant is made possible with funding from the NALAC Fund for the Arts, which receives support from the Ford Foundation and Southwest Airlines. Other NFA funders include: JPMorgan Chase, MetLife Foundation, Nescafe Clasic6, Heineken USA and The City of San Antonio Cultural Collaborative.

Latino Writers Collective © 2011

Latino Writers Collective