Dr. Lima talks to TAMU-CC about her experiences through poetry


Jonathan Garcia

Dr. Rossy Lima discusses her book “Migrare Mutare” and the inspiration into what helped shape the book into what it is today.

Dr. Rossy Lima took students and staff on a journey through poetry detailing her life as an immigrant and what inspires her to write as a poet.

As a part of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, the Mary and Jeff Bell Library hosted an event on Wednesday Oct. 6, where students, staff and anyone in attendance had a chance to meet with Lima.

Lima presented her new book titled, “Migrare Mutare ,” and she talked about her experience growing up in the United States and how her creating stories was more than just a way to entertain herself.

Senior Spanish and Biology major Perla Ortiz gets her book signed by Dr. Rossy Lima after listening to her speak. (Jonathan Garcia)

“I always thought stories were only meant to entertain or to kill time,” said Lima, “But it was not until I was 13 years old that I discovered that stories can protect you.”

When she was a teenager, Lima found that growing up as an undocumented immigrant was a difficult experience. However, it was creating stories that helped her get through the struggle and create a world for herself.

“Living as an undocumented immigrant in an unknown country and speaking a different language made me feel that I didn’t fit in anywhere,” said Lima, “So I protected myself by creating wonderful worlds where everything was possible.” 

She created these worlds as she was struggling to speak English and would often mumble things that were hard to understand. Lima wrote a poem talking about this titled, “I Have Lost So Much,” which explains how she would try to speak English while attempting to hide her accent. Nevertheless, she managed to keep pressing forward in the best way she knew possible, continuing with her dreams.

“Even though I found refuge in stories as a recent immigrant and the oldest daughter, I had to keep moving forward,” said Lima, “Which meant graduating, going to college, getting a job and helping my family.”

Lima was able to move forward and didn’t have to revisit the past until 2016 when tragedy struck as her grandfather passed away. She read a poem in both English and Spanish titled “The Poem of a Thousand Faces” to pay respect to a great memory she had with him.

“It’s an homage to my grandfather and he would love it when I would read poems to him,” said Lima.

There was a Q&A session open to those in attendance where many asked Lima about her work such as  what her favorite poem was, which was a reminder about being kind to herself.

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson shares a laugh with Dr. Rossy Lima after getting a copy of Lima’s book signed in both English and Spanish. (Jonathan Garcia)

“Given the idea that sometimes we are kind to people,” said Lima, “Sometimes we aren’t that kind to ourselves, so that poem I wrote it as a reminder to be kind to myself.”

Lima’s style of poetry is focused around  her experiences and she said she is writing about them because there is a stigmatized perception about  being an undocumented immigrant.

“I believe the idea of the undocumented immigrant is stigmatized,” said Lima, “I share my poetry and talking about that experience through poetry, which is highly regarded in some areas, so I try to take away that stigmas.” 

Lima  recalls a story where, because of her poems, an elderly man approached her talking about the struggles he went through. He collapsed three days later near a maple tree but was found by a family who owned a ranch. This created a connection that was positive for Lima.

“That type of connection can only happen when you open up with no regards,” said Lima, “Because it is dangerous, I received good experiences but also very bad experiences, but I think that the good experiences always overturn the bad ones.”

The event concluded with a book signing, where Lima signed her book in both English and Spanish which created a lasting memory for those who heard her talk about her experiences.