Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute. -- image and summary via Goodreads
Reading this for #bookbootcamp today was a pleasure. I am amazed by the woman this story was based on - Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814-1873). She was a feminist and abolitionist in a time when expressing those thoughts was certainly dangerous. Margarita Engle created this novel-in-verse to express some of those ideas. Here are some of the lines that grabbed me as I read.
[the 'she' is her mother who doesn't think women should read]
She sends me to my silent room,
where I spend quiet hours remembering
Beyond these convent gates, books
are locked away
are born with words flowing
in their veins.
Just as often, poetry is a free
of birds in air
So many people
have not yet learned
that souls have no color
and can never
All I need
is paper, ink,
and the courage
to let wild words soar.