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!:
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)
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”
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!
Hi Resa, MJ really brought Florbela’s writing to the forefront well, didn’t she?! I had never heard of Florbela before, either. I miss writing poetry… Thank you xx
No pressure! 😘
I am sorry that Espanca’s life was cut short and clearly a woman born before her time which must have been soul destroying. Wonderful that her poetry is now being studied and congratulations on your own new collection. Thanks for hosting Christy.. ♥
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 :)
Marje, thank you again for your excellent contribution to Women’s History Month. And I appreciate your replying to everyone here. Have a lovely weekend!
Sally, I totally agree with you that it’s wonderful to see Espanca’s contributions being celebrated now. And Marje did so well at it! Thank you for taking the time here xx
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
Hi Debby, indeed. It seems many poets are somewhat tortured souls who feel things more deeply than most. Many thanks for your kind encouragement. Marje xxx
HI Marje. You are so right. Not just poets, but many creatives, including the arts. <3 x
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 ❤️
And thank you Christy for always showcasing empowerment. <3
Fantastic, Marje – and congrats on your audiobook x
Thank you so much Toni and for all your shares appreciate it so much. x
Toni, thanks for reading, supporting Marje, and sharing! Hope you’ve had a wonderful week 💗
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. :-)
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. :)
Diana, like you, I enjoyed learning about Marje’s work in progress, inspired by Espanca. Thanks for cheering Marje on here!
My pleasure Willow. Thank you. 😊 It was interesting researching these poets and finding out more about them.
Thank you so much Kym. Lovely to connect with you. 😀
Thank you Christy for spotlighting Marjorie and thank you Marjorie I have not heard of Florbela Espanca, so something learned today.
Thank you Willow for supporting Marje and joining us on this learning journey of women in history!
It’s amazing isn’t Christy how many amazing women are out there and we never knew 💜
Yes! Let’s continue to celebrate their accomplishments ❤️
Yes indeed 💜
Thank you for sharing this inspiring post Christy. I enjoyed reading MJ’s feature and you know how poets are near and dear to my heart! Bravo!!! 🥰👏🏼😍
Oh yesssss you are a talented poet, and I know you love supporting the community, which we all appreciate so much, Kym! 😍
You are such a dollbaby Dimples. Thank you for always pouring positivity in all of us. You rock girlfriend. 🌞🌺😘🦋🥰 I appreciate you too! 💖
Thank you, sweet Kym! 💗
Oh my dear, you are very welcome Dimples! Hugs! 🤗💖✨
Hugging back! 🤗
Thank you Christy for sharing my post about poet Florbela. There are so many inspiring women to discover in history and in current times too. 😀
Hi Marje, yes, so many who inspire! It’s wonderful to be celebrating those who have changed history or who are changing it as we speak 💥 Thank you again for being here.
Thank you so much Christy. Such an honour to be featured amongst so many wonderful women of the past and present. 😀
You deserve to be amongst the amazing women, Marje! I wouldn’t want it any other way. You have new comments to read here too ~ So nice to see!