Judy Veramendi was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She spent the first sixteen years of her life in Park Forest, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. She remembers reading, and reading, and reading, then looking around wondering, “Is reality always going to be so boring?”
Apparently not… when she was sixteen, her father was offered a four-year-long consulting engineer project in Argentina and the whole family voted to go on a “South American adventure”.
Judy remembers feeling blissfully seduced by Brazil: “the bright tropical light, brilliant diaphanous colors, sensuous way of walking of the Brazilians…”
She thought, “I want to learn to be more free-spirited!” And so she did, for the most part, during her adolescence in Argentina…
After finishing high school in Buenos Aires, she returned to the US for two years of liberal arts education at Northwestern University, then completed her B.A. education at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.
It was in Spain that she first “met” the great revolutionary poet Delmira Agustini. Her Latin American Literature professor, Pedro Correa, introduced her one day in class, saying she was the first woman to really write like a woman in the Spanish language. Judy initially scoffed, but then read her poetry and found out she was so unique… She wrote her thesis about her, under Professor Correa’s guidance, and then found out she had so invaded her mind and soul that she could not shake off the need to write more about her, translate her poetry into English, make her story known to the English-speaking world…
In the meantime, she got married, had three children, and published over 30 short stories in various anthologies, in both English and Spanish, besides co-authoring 20 textbooks.
She taught in both English and Spanish in various venues: community college, university, high school, grade school, and even kindergarten.
She gave presentations for her book publishers in both the U.S. and overseas.
Still, every few years she would pull out a poem of Delmira’s and try to translate it, fail miserably, and put it away again. Then one night, she woke up with an idea for a new approach: instead of translating her poems, she would let Delmira’s voice come out through Judy’s own poetic voice… And it worked! She enrolled in an MFA program at Columbia College, and wrote a first draft of her novel about Delmira as her thesis project.
She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar award, and a follow-up Fulbright, to research Delmira in Uruguay. Since then she has had the thrill of seeing her play about Delmira produced in two hemispheres, in spring 2003. Performances continue in the U.S. and other countries.
She has published her novel about Delmira, “The Empty Chalices/Los cálices vacíos” in both English and Spanish. It is presently being distributed in Uruguay, Spain, and the U.S.
“I can truly say that I have seen my dream come to life before my eyes.”