María Teresa Balogh, associate teaching professor of Spanish at UMSL, holds her collection of Spanish poetry “Bailar Caribeño,” which was recently published in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by August Jennewein)

María Teresa Balogh never knows when inspiration may strike. So just in case, she carries a little book with her, ready to jot down ideas.

Balogh, teaching associate professor of Spanish at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, recently had a collection of her Spanish poetry published in Madrid, Spain.

The collection titled “Bailar Caribeño” was published this summer by Ediciones Torremosas of Madrid in their series called “Jacarandá.” Translated to English, “Bailar Caribeño” means “Caribbean Dancing.“ Ediciones Torremosas is well known in Spain and Latin America for its collections of poetry. They also specialize in women poets.

Balogh’s collection of roughly 35 poems deal with her usual themes of cross-culturalism, femininity, and social issues. Others such as the title poem are odes to folkloric dancing and music. One poem is an ode to the mango, a tropical fruit Balogh grew up eating in her homeland of Barranquilla, Colombia.

Balogh tries to visit Barranquilla every year to visit family and friends and because being there is always a very productive experience.

“Definitely there I have to have a notebook,” she said. “I write poems about things I see on the buses and people on the streets.”

She’s written several poems about the homeless people in Barranquilla.

Because Balogh is constantly writing, it begs the question: When does she know that a poem is finished? It depends on the poem she said.

“Some poems come and they are almost ready from the beginning. Others seem to never be finished. Right now, I’m working on a poem that’s been through five drafts, and I don’t see it anywhere near finished. I’m going to take it to a workshop to get some help with it.”

On Sept. 2, Balogh was a guest on “Literature for the Halibut“ on KDHX (88.1 FM).

On the show Balogh read a handful of her poems and shared that she wrote most of the poems in her book, first in English and then later translated into Spanish.

Click here to listen to the KDHX (88.1 FM) interview.

To see Balogh recite one of her Spanish poems from her new book “Bailar Caribeño” click here or below.

 

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Myra Lopez

Myra Lopez

Eye on UMSL: A day in the life
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