North Texas Daily

University junior publishes her first poetry book

University junior publishes her first poetry book

University junior publishes her first poetry book
March 03
10:29 2022

Andrea Tamez, Political science and communications junior, 19, has always been a writer.

She has composed stacks of poetry-filled journals that date back to the seventh grade. Each page documents different experiences and emotions she has had throughout the years.

Those closest to Tamez, like her cousin Mariana Sosa, 23, believe her poems contain parts of herself within the lines.

“She is living poetry,” Sosa said. “She just pours it out of her.”

Tamez said writing is just simply the best way she can express herself in the moment.

“It’s not just about all the words that you’re saying, it’s about the way that you write them,” Tamez said. “The lines, the punctuation, the shape of the poem — everything about it means something.”

It had been a longtime dream of Tamez’s to one day publish and share her work with others. While she had not planned for this to happen until she was well into her 20s or 30s, Tamez was inspired to compile her first collection of poems during a particularly rough period of her life.

After the end of a nearly two-year-long relationship in October 2019, Tamez penned what she considers to be some of her most raw, vulnerable pieces. As she noticed her work’s many universal themes, she began compiling poems to form her debut publication, “An Ode to Us.” 

Tamez said the book follows the relatable ups and downs one experiences throughout a relationship, as well as other internal struggles with mental health.

“I wanted people to be able to read it and realize that the thoughts and feelings that they’re having are completely normal,” Tamez said.

As she sifted through her journals in search of her best pieces, Tamez found herself emerged in the pain and hurt from her past. For months, she dug up some of her most difficult memories. Tamez said this proved to be a complex, draining process.

“It felt almost as if the book was helping me let go, but it was also keeping me stuck,” Tamez said. “It felt like I was reliving [the relationship] again and again and again.”

While it was difficult to navigate herself through her past feelings, Tamez said the composition process opened her eyes to all she had faced throughout the breakup. By re-experiencing the relationship, Tamez was able to better understand her healing process and come to terms with her overall growth.

“I just felt like a weight was lifted off of me,” Tamez said. “I just started enjoying my life for what it was.”

In early January 2022, Tamez officially submitted her final copy to the self-publishing site, BookBaby. A few weeks later, she received a box full of author’s publications — the first physical copies of her book.

“Finally having it in my hand was an overwhelming feeling of happiness,” Tamez said. “Having it means I know I’m now sharing this story as part of me with the world.”

While Tamez’s poems were created with her personal experiences in mind, her friend Casey Ray Willingham, 18, believes Tamez was able to write them in a relatable way. Willingham feels this further demonstrates Tamez’s skills as a poet, as she is able to express what many cannot explain themselves.

“In the beginning of her book she has this little blurb that says, ‘If you know me personally, don’t try to connect the dots,’” Willingham said. “From that outside point of view […] it’s just raw emotion. You’re looking at it and you’re thinking that it is helping you as well.”

Aside from helping others navigate their own growth, Sosa believes “An Ode to Us” also documents Tamez’s own evolution and maturity.

“We don’t know that butterflies are butterflies until they come out of their cocoon — their comfort zone if you will,” Sosa said. “I think for her, vulnerability is her comfort zone and she’s pouring her entire life out for the world to see that.”

From her book, Tamez said she was able to find her inner strength and become more open and honest about her feelings. Tamez hopes her audience also takes inspiration from her words to discover their own strengths when facing life’s obstacles. 

“All of the experiences that we go through are only what we let them be,” Tamez said. “As we accept what comes to us, we need to continue to have that tender heart and never compromise that heart of gold.”

Tamez is currently in the process of forming a second collection of poems, “Growing Pains,” a sequel to her first book. She said she is still constantly writing as poetry has shown her how pushing through periods of heartache can result in the best forms of healing.

“It’s a beautiful process when you get that low, when you’re completely broken and you get pick how the pieces fall back into place,” Tamez said. “Once you finally reach the top, once you finally feel better, life gets a lot more colorful. Things can get a lot better just by sticking it through.”

“An Ode to Us” will be officially released on March 5 and is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and BookBaby.

About Author

Samantha Thornfelt

Samantha Thornfelt

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