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Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzalda Hermana Resist

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SpeakinginTongues:ALettertoThirdWorldWomenWritersby
GloriaAnzalda

FindinggloriaZine
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SpeakinginTongues:ALettertoThird
WorldWomenWritersbyGloriaAnzalda
21demayo80
Dearmujeresdecolor,Ifeelheavyandtiredandthereisabuzzinmyheadtoomany
beerslastnight.ButImustfinishthisletter.Mybribe:totakemyselfouttopizza.SoI
cutandpasteandlinethefloorwithmybitsofpaper.Mylifestrewnonthefloorinbits
andpiecesandItrytomakesomeorderoutofitworkingagainsttime,psychingmyself
upwithdecaffeinatedcoffee,tryingtofillinthegaps.
Leslie,myhousemate,comesin,getsonhandsandkneestoreadmyfragmentsonthe
floorandsays,Itsgood,Gloria.AndIthink:IdonthavetogobacktoTexas,tomy
familyofland,mesquites,cactus,rattlesnakes,androadrunners.Myfamily,this

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communityofwriters.HowcouldIhavelivedandsurvivedsolongwithoutit.AndI
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2/6/2015

Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzalda Hermana Resist

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tags
blackoutpoetrylyndabarrymemoirvideo

remembertheisolation,relivethepainagain.
Toassessthedamageisadangerousact,writesCherreMoraga.Tostopthereis
evenmoredangerous.
Itstooeasy,blamingitallonthewhitemanorwhitefeministsorsocietyorourparents.

somespilledink

Whatwesayandwhatwedoultimatelycomebacktous,soletusownour

lostinabrittlestar:blackoutpoetry&

responsibility,placeitinourownhandsandcarryitwithdignityandstrength.Noones

paperpoems

goingtodomyshitwork,Ipickupaftermyself.

HermanaResistAnthologyintheworks

ItmakesperfectsensetomenowhowIresistedtheactofwriting,thecommitmentto

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writing.Towriteistoconfrontonesdemons,looktheminthefaceandlivetowrite
aboutthem.Fearactslikemagnetitdrawsthedemonsoutoftheclosetandintothe
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inkinourpens.

FindinggloriaZine
poem2

Thetigerridingourbacks(writing)neverletsusalone.Whyarentyouwriting,writing,

1379

writing?Itasksconstantlytillwebegintofeelwerevampiressuckingthebloodoutof

onbeingallyouneed

toofreshanexperiencethatwearesuckinglifesbloodtofeedthepen.Writingisthe

WinterfundraisingMedicalrelated

mostdaringthingIhaveeverdoneandthemostdangerous.NellieWongcallswriting

expenses

thethreeeyeddemonshriekingthetruth.
Writingisdangerousbecauseweareafraidofwhatthewritingreveals:thefears,the
angers,thestrengthsofawomanunderatripleorquadrupleoppression.Yetinthat
veryactliesoursurvivalbecauseawomanwhowriteshaspower.Andawomanwith
powerisfeared.

Whatdiditmeanforablackwomantobeanartistinour
grandmotherstime?Itisaquestionwithananswercruelenoughto
stoptheblood.AliceWalker

Ihaveneverseensomuchpowerintheabilitytomoveandtransformothersasfrom
thatofthewritingofwomenofcolor.

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2/6/2015

Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzalda Hermana Resist

IntheSanFranciscoarea,whereInowlive,nonecanstirtheaudiencewiththeircraft
andtruthsayingasdoCherreMoraga(Chicana),GennyLim(AsianAmerican),and
LuisahTeish(Black).Withwomenlikethese,thelonelinessofwritingandthesenseof
powerlessnesscanbedispelled.Wecanwalkamongeachothertalkingofourwriting,
readingtoeachother.AndmoreandmorewhenImalone,thoughstillincommunion
witheachother,thewritingpossessesmeandpropelsmetoleapintoatimeless,
spacelessnoplacewhereIforgetmyselfandfeelIamtheuniverse.Thisispower.
Itsnotonpaperthatyoucreatebutinyourinnards,inthegutandoutoflivingtissue
organicwritingIcallit.ApoemworksformenotwhenitsayswhatIwantittosay
andnotwhenitevokeswhatIwantitto.ItworkswhenthesubjectIstartedoutwith
metamorphosesalchemicallyintoadifferentone,onethathasbeendiscovered,or
uncovered,bythepoem.Itworkswhenitsurprisesme,whenitsayssomethingIhave
repressedorpretendednottoknow.Themeaningandworthofmywritingismeasured
byhowmuchIputmyselfonthelineandhowmuchnakednessIachieve.

Audresaidweneedtospeakup.Speakloud,speakunsettling
thingsandbedangerousandjustfuck,hell,letitoutandlet
everybodyhearwhethertheywanttoornot.KathyKendall

Isaymujermgica,emptyyourself.Shockyourselfintonewwaysofperceivingthe
world,shockyourreadersintothesame.Stopthechatterinsidetheirheads.
Yourskinmustbesensitiveenoughforthelightestkissandthickenoughtowardoffthe
sneers.Ifyouaregoingtospitintheeyeoftheworld,makesureyourbackistothe
wind.Writeofwhatmostlinksuswithlife,thesensationofthebody,theimagesseen
bytheeye,theexpansionofthepsycheintranquility:momentsofhighintensity,its
movement,sounds,thoughts.Eventhoughwegohungrywearenotimpoverishedof
experiences.

Ithinkmanyofushavebeenfooledbythemassmedia,by
societysconditioningthatourlivesmustbelivedingreatexplosions,
byfallinginlove,bybeingsweptoffourfeet,andbythesorceryof
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2/6/2015

Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzalda Hermana Resist

magicgeniesthatwillfulfilloureverywish,oureverychildhood
longing.Wishes,dreams,andfantasiesareimportantpartsofour
creativelives.Theyarethestepsawriterintegratesintohercraft.
Theyarethespectrumofresourcestoreachthetruth,theheartof
things,theimmediacyandtheimpactofhumanconflict.Nellie
Wong

Manyhaveawaywithwords.Theylabelthemselvesseers,buttheywillnotsee.Many
havethegiftoftonguebutnothingtosay.Donotlistentothem.Manywhohavewords
andtonguehavenoeartheycannotlistenandtheywillnothear.
Thereisnoneedforwordstofesterinourminds.Theygerminateintheopenmouthof
thebarefootchildinthemidstofrestivecrowds.Theywitherinivorytowersandin
collegeclassrooms.
Throwawayabstractionandtheacademiclearning,therules,themapandcompass.
Feelyourwaywithoutblinders.Totouchmorepeople,thepersonalrealitiesandthe
socialmustbeevokednotthroughrhetoricbutthroughbloodandpusandsweat.
Writewithyoureyeslikepainters,withyourearslikemusicians,withyourfeetlike
dancers.Youarethetruthsayerwithquillandtorch.Writewithyourtonguesoffire.
Dontletthepenbanishyoufromyourself.Dontlettheinkcoagulateinyourpens.
Dontletthecensorsnuffoutthespark,northegagsmuffleyourvoice.Putyourshiton
thepaper.
Wearenotreconciledtotheoppressorswhowhettheirhowlonourgrief.Wearenot
reconciled.
Findthemusewithinyou.Thevoicethatliesburiedunderyou,digitup.Donotfakeit,
trytosellitforahandclaporyournameinprint.
Love,
Gloria

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2/6/2015

Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzalda Hermana Resist

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