School teacher incorporates her life into poetry

HARLINGEN — Julieta Corpus doesn’t consider herself a speaker.

“I call myself a poet,” she said.

As a confessional poet, she incorporates her personal stories into her poetry.

At the young age of 10, she immigrated to the states.

But before that Corpus, a Harlingen elementary school teacher, spent what she calls her formative years in Rio Bravo and San Pedro.

Since birth, she has gained personal experiences she conveys through her writing now.

Like being a baby during Hurricane Beulah, a hurricane that devastated northern Mexico and South Texas.

“I was in my mother’s arms during Hurricane Beulah,” she said.

In 1978, she crossed the bridge into America with her family, but her strong sense of culture and love for her native tongue never left.

During those years in Mexico, she was able to also learn English. With her formal background in Spanish she was able to learn English, becoming bilingual, something she is very proud off.

“I came here with a passion for language,” Corpus said. “My background in Spanish helped me ease into English.”

“Spanish enveloped me like a cozy quilt on a daily basis, re-enforcing a strong sense of self,” she said.

After arriving in the states, her fourth-grade teacher changed her name to Julie, “effectively silencing the music,” she said.

“Sometime after arriving in the United States, however, I must have decided to straddle both worlds by remaining articulate in Spanish while galloping at full speed with English.”

Corpus became infatuated with the printed word at an early age, devouring everything from comics to graphically violent news-magazines like Alarma.

She describes her poems as attempts to encapsulate a moment, an emotion, or an event which, hopefully, will leave an indelible mark on her readers.

Her poems have been published in Tendiendo Puentes, The Mesquite Review, UTPA’s Gallery Magazine, Festiva: The Writers Issue and many more.

She also has been included in various poetry compilations, such as Writing to Be Heard: Voices from the Chicho, STC’s Interstice, and four Valley International Poetry Festival Boundless Anthologies, The Thing Itself, and the Texas Poetry Calendar.

She’s currently pursuing a master of fine art in creative writing at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley while taking a year off from teaching.

“I am very proud of the poems I have included in this thesis because they show my growth,” Corpus said.

What she is doing with her thesis is paralleling Spanish poetry and English poetry.

“I was inspired by other poems to write my own poems,” she said.

She has 23 poems in Spanish and 19 in English that will be a part of her published anthology.

“It will be a bilingual book,” she said.