We had the good fortune of connecting with Poet Astrid and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Poet, what do you want your legacy to be?
One of the main reasons I aspired to become a poet was to remind people they are not alone. I aspire to make a dent in someone’s healing journey by writing poems with lines and quotes that appeared in their life at the right time, kind of like when you’re at your lowest point and you look for signs all around you.

I intentionally write poems that I wish I would’ve had when I was going through it, and I hope to fill that void for someone at any point in their life. For me, I’ve been able to find this through my favorite musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, the Internet, Mick Jenkins, etc. Those are just a few artists I can think of at the top of my head who put out albums that came into my life during pivotal moments, so hopefully someone will remember me and my words in the same way.

As far as a legacy is concerned, I feel that I need to help pave the way for Salvadoran women to love themselves, alongside the existing Salvadoran creatives of course. Yes I want my message to reach as many people as possible but it’s the Salvadoran women who raised me that I think of when I imagine which audience needs to receive my message. Self-love is not a concept most people learn growing up, and it would mean the world to me if I helped lead a self-love movement for Salvadoran women living in El Salvador and the U.S.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Through the Soil in my Skin is my debut poetry book that cultivates self-worth from the perspective of my personal, spiritual journey and uproots the depths of love through my romantic relationships and absent father. As a hopeless romantic, I’ve always considered what it means to love and be loved. This collection of my most vulnerable poetry is a mirror of these thoughts and reflections. Altogether, it redefines what it means to be a seed, toughened by soil before blossoming, and reveals the love we give, is only as good as the love growing within.

Poetry became my escape in 2014 after problems at work, school, and home sent me into a deep depression. I didn’t share with anyone that I was writing poems until I was looking to become more involved in extra curricular activities at school, and I saw CSU Dominguez Hills offered a poetry club on campus. In the Fall semester of 2016 I decided to join the CSU Dominguez Hills poetry club and slam team, For the Love of Writing (FLOW). A year later, I became the club president and slam team captain.

Through the poetry club and slam team I started performing and competing in poetry events throughout 2017. I befriended many creatives in the poetry community during this time who kept mentioning a program called, Community Literature Initiative (CLI). As it turns out, this 1-year program helped poets develop manuscripts to publish as books once the program ended. I completely underestimated the program, took it again the following year, and then dedicated a whole year to editing the book before it was released on November 18, 2020.

Of course this couldn’t have been a worse time to publish since the pandemic had arrived earlier that year and we were experiencing a huge surge around the holidays. This affected sales, touring, and promotion for my book but I was still very determined and blessed to establish a dedicated team with two friends, Steven Todd & Heri Rodriguez.

We just made it work by putting in an insane amount of hours to meet weekly on Zoom, create ads/content for social media, and reach out to groups for virtual events and sales. This went on for about a year before we decided to take a break from promoting Through the Soil in My Skin, because we felt it was time for me to start working on the next book and we would pick promotions back up once it’s completed.

I know 2020 was a difficult year for everyone but looking back, I have no idea how I managed to publish a book while working a full time job. There were days when I was working 16 hours nonstop, which was only possible because I was home and I was trying to make use of all of the extra time I had. If it wasn’t for my team I know I would’ve lost my mind because there’s simply no way I could’ve accomplished anything on my own.

The biggest lessons I learned throughout this period is not only the importance of a team and hard work, but also maintaining a work-life balance. It’s really hard as a creative to have this balance because you are wearing so many hats before you are able to focus on just one thing, but you have to remember to take care of yourself and your health. You only have one body so treat it as such!

By the time my next book comes out, I just want everyone to see the light at the end of the tunnel when they think of me and my poetry. Whether its self-love, a project, or your growth, none of it come’s easy without hard work, patience, and perseverance. Just make sure you never give up because every successful story starts with failure, and most importantly, trust the process!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite things to do is go bike riding in Long Beach along the bike path near Bixby Park. Our first stop would be at Belmont Brewery to enjoy a few beers and some good food, while admiring our view of the ocean and city skyscrapers. Then we would stop by Rosie’s Dog Beach to watch a few wholesome dogs running around the water with their pet parents. There’s just something about dogs that makes the heart light up.

On a different day, I would choose to visit San Pedro’s Fish Market. They recently opened a location in Long Beach but we’d have to visit the original location for the full experience. After eating a giant shrimp plate with potatoes and garlic bread, we would order a few mouthwatering micheladas and a pineapple smoothie served inside a real pineapple! Afterwards, we would take a small boat tour around the harbor and hopefully catch a few seals swimming on the coast. If there’s time, we may even visit the Korean Friendship Bell nearby to spend the rest of the day in the park and catch the sunset overlooking the cliffs.

One of my other must see locations, would have to be grand central market in Downtown LA. Don’t get me wrong the food here is great, but I mainly go visit to have a few beers at the Golden Road Brewery stand and then head across the street to Maccheroni Republic. This is hands down my favorite Italian restaurant because the pasta is handmade and the ambience is beautiful. I love love love their bruschetta and my go-to favorite item to order is the Bianchi E Neri. It’s a black and white pasta with shrimp and Italian bacon served in a creamy sauce. Makes me want to go there now just thinking about it! We’d have to end the night hopping around bars and breweries of course. Some of my favorite places are the Broken Shaker, Broadway Bar, and Boomtown Brewery.

Lastly, I would have to visit my favorite place to eat pupusas in Koreatown called Jaragua. They used to have a sister location down the street called Atlacatl but it shut down during COVID so this is the next best thing. The pupusas there are a childhood staple for me and my family because it’s the only Salvadoran place we ever pay to eat at and everything they serve is incredible. Highly recommend!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am happy to dedicate my shoutout to World Stage Press & For the Love of Writing (F.L.O.W.) My first ever poetry book, Through the Soil in My Skin, is published by World Stage Press and F.L.O.W. is a poetry club at CSU Dominguez Hills, where I was also the club’s president and team captain of the slam team. Both of these organizations opened up my world of poetry in a way I would’ve never imagined. In addition to helping me enhance my writing, performance, and editing skills, both of these groups provided me with a community of creatives I would’ve never known existed in Los Angeles if it wasn’t for them. I am forever grateful.

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