Julie de Oliveira, who is studying liberal arts at Quinsigamond Community College, recently had a poem published in Acentos Review.
Born and raised in Worcester, Ms. de Oliveira, 20, writes short stories and poetry that bring light to silenced voices of Brazilian immigrants and the fairly recent phenomena of the Brazilian diaspora in America and finding their identity within the U.S. Latino community.
“I don’t see many Brazilian writers in the Latin climate, and I think it is important to create a space for that, to write about the Brazilian diaspora.”
Her parents immigrated to the United States when her mother was pregnant with her in 1995. “My parents didn’t get a green card until 2008, and that was the first time they were able to go back to Brazil to visit since leaving. I have been to Brazil a handful of time, and I have a very big family there that I keep in close contact with,” she said.
“My writing is largely influenced by members of the Brazilian community, I consider them my family more so than my actual family members in Brazil. Their stories are all different, but they still share a similar connection, of being displaced in a way. Many of them are unable to go back home to their families because of their immigration status, they are alone without access to resources like welfare or health insurance because of lack of documentation. They are the strongest people I know.”
She will be graduating in May with an associate’s degree in liberal arts. She plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Latin American/Latino studies.
When she was taking a poetry class with Professor Trent Masiki, he encouraged her to submit her poems to various literary publications. One of her poems “Saudade” was published in the Acentos Review, a quarterly literary and arts journal that promotes and publishes LatinX work.
From her powerful poem “Saudade”:
We yearn to find the word for saudade in
English, because the definition
Of nostalgia can't come close.
We don't miss our home, but rather,
Brazil is missing from us.
“I was so excited, that was the first time I was published,” she said. “I obsess over my poems, there is a lot of editing involved.”
She said she became interested in journaling after her younger brother passed away in 2012. She then used her journaling for prose and structured poems, and uses entries to inspire her poetry.
“He was only 18 months old when he passed away a week after my 16th birthday,” Ms. De Oliveira said. “He was the only sibling I had. I’m very grateful for the time, albeit short, that I had with him.”
Ms. De Oliveira graduated from Burncoat High School in 2014. “I decided to attend QCC to give me more time to think about what I wanted to do next,” she said. “I wanted to explore my options.”
She works full-time as a receptionist at a psychiatric clinic. “At QCC, I could be more flexible with my schedule,” she said. She has taken night courses and online courses as well as day classes.
She said she has really enjoyed her classes at QCC, especially a Humanities class with Michael Gormley, assistant professor of English, where she could be creative with her work. She took two creative writing classes with John Stazinski, associate professor of English, who she said gave her space to work with her stories and improve her writing.