I consider myself a cosmopolitan poet. Some people think that I’m a born poet. Sorry to disappoint you, but when I was younger I didn’t care much for poetry. Not in South America where I was born and grew up. And not in Europe where I tried to grow up some more. I started liking poetry only after high school. But the real fireworks came when I was living in Rome, Italy.
One day I went on a stroll with my earliest critic, mentor and friend Joe Palmieri through the gorgeous Villa Borghese Gardens in Rome, Italy. We stopped at a statue of famous British poet Lord Byron sitting on a pedestal. I read a short verse on the plaque from his famous “Childe Harold”
But I have lived, and have not lived in vain:
My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire,
And my frame perish even in conquering pain,
But there is that within me that shall tire
Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire.
and lightning struck: BOOM! I started writing poems the next day. I showed some to Joe who immediately encouraged me to get myself acquainted with American poetry. I did and committed to reading, reading, reading like a starved “poemeater” (a species that reads poems to survive) day after day, for many years. I’ve probably read about 20,000 poems in five languages. I continued traveling in Europe, and ultimately landed in the US in 1986 to immerse myself further into American lore, culture and poetry.
I just found out that my heritage is actually Italian. Not Portuguese or Spanish although the name is fairly common in Portugal and Spain. I found out about it through Wikipedia.
Freddy Niagara Fonseca
This is my selfie some 70 years later 😉