I set up a meeting with Erika Said in San Antonio’s Hemisfair Park to talk about her poetry and her cultural background. I first met her at South Texas College Pecan Campus in McAllen while she was covering an art exhibition for a newspaper story.
Erika is from Cuidad Madero Tamaulipas, Mexico. As a first generation Mexican American living in Texas, she hangs out with people from Latin America and Mexico, which makes her feel culturally at home.
Erika mentioned that she didn’t like the idea of mixing English with Spanish at first. However, that has slowly changed. As she spends more time in Texas she finds it interesting that both languages merge. Such phenomenon of mixing both languages has become part of her life in Texas.
I asked Erika, what she thinks about the term Mexican American. She replied that what comes to mind is people of Mexican descent who were born in the United States. In other words, second generation Mexican Americans. However, she was quick to admit that it’s a fine line. The definition of who is Mexican American can be a matter of debate.
Erika is well traveled when it comes to the Texas-Mexico border. She lived in Cuidad Juarez, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. She is inspired by border culture, music, and contemporary 21st century gadget terms. Hence, the title of her book, iPoems, which is mostly written in Spanish but incorporates words in English. The book is filled with quotes from a variety of singers and music bands ranging from Daft Punk and Regina Spektor to David Bowie and Billie Holiday.
I look forward to reading iPoems.