by Norma Liliana Valdez

(“Your Life Or Hers” was originally published in The Acentos Review and is reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)

Norma Liliana Valdez arrived to California from Mexico in her mother’s pregnant belly. She was born and raised in the Bay Area. Her poetry seeks to disentangle the tradition of women’s oppression and pain through the personal intersection of the psyche with the page. She is an alumna of the Voices of our Nations Arts Foundation (VONA) writing workshop for writers of color and the Writing Program at UC Berkeley Extension. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from San Francisco State University and works with first-generation, underrepresented students as a community college counselor. She is currently working on her first poetry manuscript, Coyolxauhqui.

Editor’s Note: Today is the second time I’ve had the pleasure to feature Ms. Valdez on my weekly series here on As It Ought To Be. While what I often adore in Ms. Valdez’s work is an airiness on the page and an expert ability to play with and manipulate sound, today’s poem takes us in a different direction. A more narrative-driven piece, this poem is deeply personal, and, amidst thick prose, takes the reader into the heart not only of a story, but of a life, and shows us the price paid for that life’s journey.

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. Judith says:

    I love it!



  2. This poem is powerful, jarringly honest with an unexpected juxtaposition. Thank you for posting it!

  3. Lezlie says:

    Interesting look at the generation gap and the loss of innocence, thanks Sivan!

  4. Maya Elashi says:

    thank g-d/d-ss she won’t buy the video with prostitutes and stolen cars (i’ve taught kids who did really knarly things watching that shit) … why don’t we make a video with Ghandi walkin’ into the Salt Flats(?) … nice post, Sivan.

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