Spoken Word! -Terri L.

Hey everybody, it’s me again. Look at our awesome team, blogging twice in one day! πŸ™‚ Just wanted to let you know that this week, we are aiming for everyone to make a post, so look forward to hearing from Dana and Galvin for the first time, and another post from Luz. Of course, we have realized we are pretty terrible at blogging or updating on a regular basis, so don’t hold your breath. πŸ˜‰

A warning before I get on with what I was going to write about – it’s loooooooong. But hopefully good. So brace yourself for the length and open your mind for the content.

Yesterday was Visitors Day. It was super nice. My mommy and one of my sisters came (bearing lots of food, of course). We hung out and cooked. If you ever wonder what a Liang gathering is like, the previous sentence says it all. We talk and cook. Also, we tend to cook food for an army, so today has been officially dubbed leftover day and we don’t have to cook anything from scratch – just reheating and some minor reinventing πŸ™‚ .

Part of Visitors Day was a program from 7-9. During that program, each work site was given 7 minutes to give a presentation. In an effort to minimize the time that we (College Track) took, we made art pieces and did a quick sharing of that. It was for this setting that I created my first spoken word poem! It’s been something that I’ve been interested in for a long time, but every time I sat down and tried to write one, it didn’t seem quite right. The rhythm was always a little off and it felt more like ranting than a poem with a message or central point (which is something I find essential to spoken word, no matter how subtle the central idea is). The poem was created as a reaction to reading the student’s reflections and “I am” poems. For those who don’t know, “I am” poems are poems about the author’s identity in which each line or stanza begins with “I am” or “I am from” and then proceeds to describe a certain aspect of the author’s life. This can be where they are living presently, where their parents originate from, their ethnic background, the phrases they heard growing up, the food that they eat, etc. The student reflections were about a cultural heritage workshop that our IV staff asked to facilitate and the students were asked questions about an activity in class as well as answering the questions “What do you like about your culture?” and “What would you change about your culture?”.

Some of what I read in these reflections and poems really hit home, and because there was no one to talk with (everyone had already gone to bed), I decided to write a poem to express the feelings I was experiencing in light of our last program day, which was about education.

The funny thing about this poem is that it was originally two different ones. I asked the members of my house to critique three works that I had written because I didn’t have a clear idea of what to present on Saturday and they accidentally read two of the works as one. Because of this happy accident, I ended up with a poem that gave a snapshot of the experience we are facing, as BayUP interns at college track in addition to the two sections I had previously written from the perspective of students and teachers.

Performing the poem was exhilarating! I definitely understand why every spoken word artist in a CCF setting tells us to snap or clap or “mm” if we agree or feel a certain statement. Makes me feel kind of bad that my snaps are inaudible and I don’t really make noise for artists when I really am in awe of their work. Hearing someone agree with what you’ve spent a lot of effort pouring over is both gratifying and encouraging (especially in the nerves of the moment). Another thing that struck me about spoken word that I always knew in my head but never really felt was the difference between reading them (in your head or to yourself) and performing them. I felt that as I read the poem to an audience, I was reading lines and words in ways that I had never considered before, showing feelings that I had felt and written but never knew how to voice.

Now I know what you’re all thinking. What is this poem? Can I read it? Where is it? Well, to tell you the truth, I can’t tell you yet. I think that in order to preserve the virtue of what I wrote, I may not give it out to people in written form. In light of really understanding the difference between spoken and read verse, I feel that giving out the written form (at least to people who haven’t heard/seen it performed) isn’t doing justice to the poem that the Holy Spirit has entrusted into my care. Of course, I have already promised a couple people I would email them the written form and this resolution is not set in stone. If you are curious, feel free to contact me and ask about it (although it would have to be after August 1st). The poem is called “Look @ me”. Also, I know that the whole program that night was being taped, so if I can get a copy of it, I will post my poem part or maybe the whole College Track part. The program was a little over 2 hours, so I won’t burden you with the whole thing πŸ˜› .

I just really want to thank everyone who is reading this blog and praying/looking out for us this summer. I know that your prayers and donations (whether monetary, time, or other) have been put to good use and we are all experiencing things that we will carry with us out of our enclosed BayUP space and into the “real world”.

Yay, you! You made it through my insanely long blog post! Thanks again, and may God bless you in this coming week.

❀ Terri

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