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How poet Florbela Espanca inspires author MJ Mallon

MJ Mallon on poet Florbela Espanca

One of the things I love most about Women’s History Month is learning about talented women whose names I had not heard before. Here is a case in point: Portuguese poet Florbela Espanca (1894-1930). This is the name that author MJ Mallon gave me when I asked her, “Who inspires you in history, and why?” In today’s guest post, MJ Mallon explains how Florbela Espanca inspires her own writing.

Author MJ Mallon guest posts for Women’s History Month

Thank you to Christy Birmingham-Reyes for inviting me to write this piece for When Women Inspire for Women’s History Month.

Poetry is and always has been an intense love of mine. After much deliberation, I decided to discuss one female poet who I hadn’t come across before, Florbela Espanca, along with a brief introduction to Rupi Kaur, who I had. I particularly wanted to focus on female poets of Portugal, as I have been spending a lot of time travelling from Lisbon, and Porto to the Algarve.

It is fast becoming my adopted country! One day I hope to live there. There are a wealth of female poets to choose between – and a great blog to find out more is here. Not only does this article highlight Portuguese poets, it also mentions internet sensations such as Rupi Kaur, author of the highly successful Milk and Honey.

Contemporary poet Rupi writes about trauma (she suffered a rape at age 12), love, sex, race, and gender. And I am keen to study her work too.

Why did I choose Florbela Espanca? It’s interesting to note that I felt a connection to Florbela even though she was born in 1894! Perhaps it was her passionate nature that drew me to her.

Florbela wrote poems about the human condition, unconventional behaviour, love, loneliness, and the emotions of an intense and troubled life. Sadly, Florbela took her own life aged 36.

Her poems are peppered with an abundance of exclamation marks. Unfortunately, at that time in history, female poets weren’t taken seriously, but that didn’t stop her. How inspiring!

Her poetry is now studied in Portugal and other countries. I admire her wonderfully passionate spirit. And it saddens me that she died so young and tragically.

Here is an example of her poetry from the first stanza of To Love!:

To Love!
I want to love, to love madly!
Loving just for loving. Here… beyond…
More This and That one, the Other and

(Excerpt from To Love! by Florbela Espanca)

In fact, reading Florbela’s work has inspired me to write my own love and sensual poetry collection, which I am currently working on. Female poets have so much to offer! And so much to say!

Here is a short excerpt (unedited, from my current poetry work in progress):

She is fair and I am dark
Slight and I am robust
We fill out together
Completing our silhouettes
As we explore each other
Strangers a moment ago
Now lost, unable to fade away
Because we kissed the deepness
Of each others shadows and stayed

© M J Mallon

I include poetry in most of my writing. In my collections of poetry and short fiction: Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose, The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet, Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity, and my latest collection, Do What You Love. Many of my poetry and short fiction collections have now found a home in prestigious libraries in the UK, which gladdens my heart so much.

Just think, my work will be there for all eternity for readers to enjoy, and one day in the distant future, someone might connect to my poetry as I have to Florbela’s!

Furthermore, I am thrilled to announce that my YA Fantasy novel Golden Healer, Book 2 in The Curse of Time series, is now available in audiobook, as is Book 1, Bloodstone, in the series. The narrator, Kerri Hiebert, who is from Canada, did a fabulous job.

I urge you to listen to this series in audiobook; you will not be disappointed. Kerri’s narration really brings the characters to life. This series includes poetry, and prose, and each chapter begins with a short puzzle piece of poetry to introduce the reader to the chapter.

Here is a mysterious example from Book 2 Golden Healer:

No one could guess this,
It’s so unreal it’s torture,
An old friend returns,
Where she’s been, I do not know,
Will she stay a while, who knows..?

((Excerpt from Golden Healer by MJ Mallon)

MJ Mallon books

About today’s writer, author MJ Mallon

MJ’s motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so, too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

Her favourite genres to write: Fantasy/magical realism and poetry because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

You can find all her links here at Linktree, including where to find her audiobooks.


Top photo: Meet author MJ Mallon. Photo used with her permission.

46 thoughts on “How poet Florbela Espanca inspires author MJ Mallon”

  1. MJ! Thank you for the introduction to Florbela Espanca.
    Poetry has moved my life along, as well.
    I love to read poetry. However, when I write, it is usually comes out doggerel.
    I have found poetry to be reborn online.
    It’s a wonderful thing.
    I’ll head to your blog, and see what I can find!
    Thank you for this post!

    Christy, I miss your poetry!

    1. Thank you Sally for popping over to read about Florbela Espanca’s poetry. Christy is featuring some wonderful women! I’m delighted to join in the discussion on Christy’s inspiring blog :)

  2. Great post from Marje. What a tragic young life for Espanca. Reminds me a lot of Sylvia Plath. So glad to hear Marje’s creative juices are flowing and congrats on the audio book! <3 xx

    1. Debby and Marje, that’s certainly an interesting conversation. It’s like those that seek to express through art do so as a means of coping and educating… Too much tragedy in this world.. Thank you both for encouraging women and supporting one another ❤️

  3. It was fun to learn about Espanca and her influence on Marje’s poetry. As well as get a glimpse into how that influence has guided what she’s working on. Thanks for the fun interview, ladies, and congrats on your audio book, Marje. :-)

    1. Hi Diana. Yes, I will study these poets more fully, including Espanca and follow their guidance in the new poetry book I’m working on. Many thanks for the encouragement and glad you enjoyed, Christy’s features have been fab. :)

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