By Judianne Jayme
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” – William Wordsworth
The community knows Mrs. Gemma Derpo Dalayoan for her advocacies in education. She is a retired Vice Principal for the Winnipeg School Division and founding member (as well as three time president) of the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers, Inc. She is the 2019 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Awards for the University of Manitoba under the banner of Community Service.
When one is involved with the community, it’s easy for many to feel they know a lot about who Mrs. Dalayoan is. There’s a warm familiarity that comes from seeing her at community events. This collection of her poetry goes past familiarity, giving readers the opportunity to truly hear her story in her own voice.
This is when poetry connects readers to the innermost thoughts and emotions of poets.
Mrs. Dalayoan’s gemma: The Bud was launched on February 3rd at McNally Robinson Booksellers where a crowd of 100 came to hear the poetry read by the author.
She was eloquent in her expressions and honest with the topics she shares. For many in the crowd, this was the first time they’ve gotten a glimpse into her story.
The event was opened with an introduction given by one of Mrs. Dalayoan’s daughters who had traveled from Calgary to celebrate this milestone with her mother.
Maria-Estela Dalayoan-Pinlac painted a portrait of her mother’s journey, highlighting the struggles that her mother faced as a young child. We all learned how, despite her strength in the community, and the accolades she has collected, she, like every one of us, has had to deal with self-doubt and insecurities.
As Mrs. Dalayoan-Pinlac spoke, one could truly feel the love and admiration she has for her mother.
Without any spoilers – you’ll need to pick up your own copy – the collection has been organized into sections based on the tones of her poetry. Her poems are relatable to people of different walks of life, as they deal with universal experiences: fears, insecurities, belongingness, the quest for hope, the feelings of love and joy for one’s family, and celebrations.
Her words are introspective and honest, vulnerable and bold. While she has been an inspiration to many, this book bridges a gap that now makes her your mother, your sister, your aunt. She is on a similar journey with struggles and triumph that any strong female in your life is on. As she, herself, said during her closing remarks, she entitled her collection gemma with a lowercase g to symbolize the bud. “Now, I am Gemma, with a capital!” she exclaimed. From bud to blossom, truly, she is.
Congratulations to Mrs. Gemma Derpo Dalayoan for another remarkable publication. This collection of poetry is an innermost look at heTo purchase your copy of gemma: The Bud, you can find it in store at McNally Robinson Booksellers at 1120 Grant Avenue in Winnipeg (part of Grant Park Mall). The poetry collection can also be found online at https://www.mcnallyrobinson.com.