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Artist shows soul with poetry

While she isn’t a Texas native, poet Carol Coffee Reposa captures the state through writing like few others can.

Reposa, who was the state’s poet laureate in 2018, recently visited Del Mar College to share how she uses her talent, skills and love for art to capture the life and beauty of Texas.

“The poetry of Carol Coffee Reposa reflects the wide diversity of her life experience as a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, traveler, musician, gardener, swimmer and lifelong lover of the arts,” Reference Librarian Alan Berecka said when introducing Reposa at the March 5 event in the White Library.

Reposa read and reviewed poems from her books “At the Border: Winter Lights/Signature Series,” “The Green Room” and “The Facts of Life.” 

“I don’t choose the poems; the poems choose me. They demand to be written. They demand me to respond,” Reposa said after being asked what inspires her works.  

Reposa earned her B.A. and M.A. in English at the University of Texas. She also attended University of San Antonio and Trinity University. She is the 1991 winner of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Poetry Contest, and second-place winner of the Blue Unicorn Poetry Contest. 

Reposa has participated other contests and her poems are featured in many other sources such as The Formalists and San Jose Studies. 

Born in Southern California, Reposa had a lot of Texan family, which inspired her to write about life in Texas. 

“When I was very little, I would write ridiculous poems for my mom,” she said. “Then I journaled off and on. I did have some interruptions, some silences and then I resumed seriously writing poems in my 30s.”

Because Reposa visited during Mardi Gras, she ended with a poem she wrote about the celebration. Although she had never enjoyed the full experience of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, she wrote a poem called “Song for New Orleans,” which was dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

“That feeling of being completely attuned with something, engaged with it, drives a lot of writers,” Reposa said. “It’s part of that creative spirit. And I think more people have a creative spirit than entirely realize they actually do.”

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