Doctor gives the diagnosis: It’s poetry

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For Dr. Julio César Aguilar, writing poetry is a way to remain present and to understand the mysteries of life.

“I think poetry is a great, wonderful resource to know yourself better and to be a better human being,” Aguilar, lecturer in Spanish, said. “All art any artistic expression-can help us understand the world better, to find yourself, to be feel better and to be happier.”

Aguilar has written 18 poetry books in Spanish and “Perfil de niebla” is the most recent publication. The book combines two of Aguilar’s previously published works, “Rescoldos” in 1995 and “Brevesencias” in 1996, discussing night, death and divinity. “Perfil de niebla” dives into the feelings and the soul of poet Aguilar.

“I go deep into my feelings and my emotions,” Aguilar said. “In that way, I can make myself conscious about them and work on that if I see any problems.”

Throughout the “Perfil de niebla,” Scriptures from the Bible decorate the front pages of each section. Aguilar said he is a believer in God and that the first book he read from cover to cover was the Bible when he was in elementary school.

“I can see the presence of God in a flower, in a little insect, animal,” Aguilar said. “It is the presence of God everywhere. I can perceive the presence of God in little things.”

Born in Jalisco, México, Aguilar was the young student who memorized entire lines of poetry. Aguilar was inspired to write and read poetry after meeting Juan Jose Arreola, a famous poet and a distant relative from Aguilar’s hometown. Juan Jose Arreola was the first to suggest poetry for the young Aguilar.

Although poetry and literature was Aguilar’s first love, he received his medical degree to be a practicing physician from the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Aguilar went on to receive his master’s in Spanish from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his Ph.D. in Spanish studies from Texas A&M University.

Aguilar went to school for literature, but finding the demands of being a student and a practicing physician too much, he did not finish.

“Writing poetry is an effort to be present over time,” Aguilar said.

For the boy who grew up around doctors and in hospitals and for the boy who memorized poetry, Aguilar has found ways to combine the fields of literature and medicine.

“I wanted to be a physician,” Aguilar said. “In my doctoral research, I combined my medical knowledge with literary because I studied four American poets who committed suicide. They had depression and schizophrenia.”

Aguilar said he hasn’t forgotten about medicine and wants to continue combining his love for poetry with medicine. Aguilar works to constantly improve his poetry to better understand himself.

“I try to write every day,” Aguilar said. “Even if it is just a verse, but continuously reading and writing because that method of working can be very fruitful.”