Written by Noah Kim
A literary piece that evolves alongside its reader invites to be revisited, and revisited, and revisited. The personal, yet broadly relatable thematic elements provides the college audience with a flux of newfound interpretations with each reread. The simple, straightforward story line of the poem "Con Gracia" by Brenda Estrada from the Mental Health Issue (Volume 73 No.2) is an inviting read with its effortless flow off the tongue and simplistic story line; however, poetry is often thought to become what the reader is willing to make it and "Con Gracia" is no exception.
The punch within Estrada's opening stanza comes with the lines:
of having rode the waves down
and gliding up,
the highest peaks of possibility" (3-8).
The suffering, the sleeping, and the dreaming is largely personable, allowing for each reader to inquire as to why Estrada feels this way and offers up reflection upon their own suffering and dreaming. What initially grabbed me after reading this first stanza were the final two lines regarding the "gliding up, / the highest peaks of possibility" as it forced me to muse upon my own peaks of mediocrity and the mundane of daily collegiate lifestyle. Perhaps, the word "gliding" resonated profoundly with my (entirely all too common) experience of coasting through college merely completing the pathway that is set and hoping a field of study presenting legitimized passion and interest appears for myself. This relatability and addressing the essence of human nature on a scale beyond the words of her piece is what provides the main source of Inscape's interest. Inscape's essence embodies searching through the eclectic makeup of the human being and Estrada's poem touches especially well upon the commonality of the process of human becoming.
Estrada's poem clearly addresses a larger theme throughout; the piece is concerned with the essence of the human pursuit of something more or something greater. Whether the "something" is in regard to tangible material or self-betterment is entirely up to the perspective and particular comprehension of each individual reader. This stanza alone reveals Estrada's inner qualms and simultaneously unveils an overarching struggle pertaining to the crux of being a living, breathing, bettering human. She earnestly presses an issue detailing the immense difficulty in becoming a better person and reveals the genuine hardship of resisting the subtle comfort in succumbing to remaining the same, stagnant individual; "Because it is easier to die / in your torments / than let thrive" (25-27). Estrada gently shames the notion of sitting in easier stagnation and the refusal to push and "let thrive." Estrada manages to not only intellectually stimulate a large audience through this piece, but she also emotionally challenges the readers to strive to better themselves; betterment is in large, the essence of being human.
Inscape chose Estrada's "Con Gracia" because of her ability to parallel the evolution of the piece alongside the evolution of an individual's process of self-betterment. The poem is raw, intriguing, and provides a realistic depiction of one's mind on the fence of gearing up to take the plunge of bettering themselves or their situation; this theme alone encapsulates the emotions of most, if not all, who read "Con Gracia." The poem offers itself up to the reader to continually be reapplied to whatever flaw they are currently attempting to amend and provides company throughout the hike of life.
Noah Kim is a second year English major aspiring to acquire a B.A. in English and move on to attend Law School for his J.D. Within Inscape Noah is an associate poetry editor and is formatting the table of contents within the webpage. Noah highly values literature of all kinds and he believes literature is the microscope that uncovers the nuances of our society.
PCC Inscape Magazine, housed at Pasadena City College, is following Coronavirus protocols. At this time our staff continues to read submissions and publish web content. Our Spring 2020 issue is at the printer! Our Fall 2020 issue is coming soon!
Blog Posts reflect the opinions of the writer and not the opinions of Pasadena City College or Inscape Magazine Editorial Staff Members.