Ayling Zulema Dominguez is from Bronx, NY. As a daughter of immigrants, her poetry explores identity, family, first-generation experiences, politics, and the unique, intricate beauty of living between three cultures—Dominican, Mexican, and that of the U.S; and of trying to bloom where you are planted despite so many uprooting forces.
1. When did your love for poetry begin?
I have always loved writing. For as long as I can remember. Since I could hold pencil to paper I told my mother I was going to be an author. I faltered when it came to believing in myself for a few years, but when I first started to share my poetry, that’s when my most grounded love, respect for and treasuring of it began. It was my first open mic and that’s where I was able to witness and truly feel the human connection that my words were capable of bringing about by way of poetic storytelling and experience-sharing. It was a beautiful moment and one I wanted to continue generating forever. I think poetry can be so moving. Unifying and revolutionary. That’s why I love it so.
2. Where do you envision taking your writing?
To the places my mom and dad came from. To the places where it is welcome and to those it has not yet been invited nor thought of. To rooms where my words provide comfort, a mirror, and new worldviews.
3. If you could change the world through your poetry, what would be your message to heal the world?
I will change the world through my poetry. My message is a granting of permission of sorts for our communities. We, you, are allowed to be soft. I see you. Your past is hard and it’s made you into who you are. Sit in it for a minute, yes, but do grow through it, too. Allow yourself to love. To care. To feel. In this world, there is harshness, hatred, and worse yet—dispassion and indifference, to spare. Softness and love will carry us home, whatever and wherever that may be.
4. What brings you ALEGRIA?
Dancing. Friends and family. Sunshine and the outdoors. Maduros. Una salsita bien picante y rica. When people tell me they feel seen in my words and in my poetry.
The LatinX Poetry Project is a poetic anthology with over 45 new LatinX Poets from diverse backgrounds. Purchase your book here.