By: Leesa Prescod
Assistant Professor of Spanish Marta del Pozo Ortea secured the first prize in the highly prestigious Second Annual Iberoamerican Poetry Contest for her poetry book, Nigredo. del Pozo Ortea’s Nigredo will be published throughout Latin America and Spain, and she will earn a cash prize, as well as recording a TV program in Caracas, Venezuela. Her book was unanimously chosen by poets José María Zonta, Juan Carlos, and Raúl Zurita.
“I have always admired these poets’ works, and it’s wonderful to know that they all agreed that my book should be chosen as the awardee,” del Pozo Ortea said. “It’s feeling all the love that always emanated from their words toward the book."
The title of her book, Nigredo, means blackness and putrefaction, which she relates to alchemy. del Pozo Ortea references to alchemy because of its process of transforming metals into gold to reach the philosopher’s stone.
“It is a metaphor of what we all individually have to do to integrate the dark side of our psyche and our consciousness,” del Pozo Ortea said. “So, for all of us to understand what we’re coming from, understand even our mission in life, we have to go through an introspection that is very often times dark and painful.”
Nigredo is about the journey of the soul going through the repressed, darkest depths of ourselves, so we can come to terms with our truth and emotions. “We all have to go through this process, we have to understand that it’s a beautiful and necessary process because light comes out of darkness,” said del Pozo Ortea.
Del Pozo Ortea’s course release helped her to focus more on her current writing, which is a continuation Nigredo. “I’m thankful to the CAS Dean’s Office because if I didn’t have this course-release, I would have to put it off because teaching takes a lot of your time,” she said. “So, I am being supported to continue with my writing and it makes me very happy because I’m writing another book that continues this one.”