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Immigrant Muses About Finding Her Voice

Apr 19, 2013

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now the latest in our series, Muses and Metaphor. We've been celebrating National Poetry Month by hearing your tweet poems. Those are poems of 140 characters. We just talked about how complicated and charged the issue of immigration is, but for listener Su Layug, her immigrant story is all about - well, stories.

SU LAYUG: As a preschooler, my first memorable exposure to the English language was through old western movies. I was so impressed by the steam engine trains, I asked my mother what this or that was doing; but she didn't have the words in our native language, nor did she speak English. So, when I retold the movie to my playmates, I invented English words, trying to grasp the whole experience.

MARTIN: That was Su Layug. She is an interpreter and translator of the Filipino language, Tagalog. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. So now let's hear her tweet.

LAYUG: Childhood, Westerns, azuzing(ph) the fog, ring the ties, sissing(ph) the bearings. Mother had no words for it. My tongue, no home.

MARTIN: Now we know that went by pretty quickly, so let's hear it again.

LAYUG: Childhood, westerns, azuzing(ph) the fog, ring the ties, sissing(ph) the bearings. Mother had no words for it. My tongue, no home.

MARTIN: That's a poetic tweet by Su Layug. We'd also like to hear from you as we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month, so tweet us your original poetry, fewer than 140 characters. Use the hash tag, #TMMPoetry. If your poem is chosen, we will help you record it for us and we will air it in the program this month. You can learn more at the TELL ME MORE website. Go to NPR.org/TellMeMore.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.