By: Lidia Chacon, Staff Reporter
Why did you choose Regis?
Um well I first heard about Regis from my brother’s, there’s a summer camp here where if he goes to summer school at this campus every year until he graduates, he gets full tuition scholarship here. So I had been on this campus before because of him and I applied. I was really busy senior year so I went to a ton of, well not a ton, I went to one in Oregon and that was it so I was like “we’re just go to apply to ones that sound cool.” And I got in and they gave me a scholarship which was cool. I wasn’t seriously considering it until I got the scholarship. I missed Colorado, I lived here before I moved off to Utah, and I decided to stay because I love it here! I just decided on a whim to come here, but I decided to stay because I like it.
Onto the poetry theme, when and why did you first start poetry?
My sixth grade math teacher, can’t for the life of me understand why she’d put it in her math class, but she played a TED talk of Sarah Kay’s slam poetry of her performing Point B and then talking about her organization she runs to teach people poetry and ending with her poem Hiroshima, and I went home that day and I watched it like 12 times! I was just blown away by the fact that this medium existed. And so I started performing her poetry a lot. And then when I got to high school, the open mics that I was going to, you had to have your original stuff, you couldn’t perform other people’s stuff, so I was like alright I guess I gotta start writing my own things, this is great. So I got to district finals, for Denver public schools, I started a poetry club my senior year. Went to open mics, competed, competed against some really cool people in Utah, like RJ Walker and I got to meet them, I was blown away freaking out the whole time . Then RJ Walker was like, “You wanna be facebook friends?” And I was like “What?? You wanna be facebook friends with me???”
What made you want to perform poetry?
It’s just this interesting aspect of connecting with the audience. It’s one thing to read a poem and get goosebumps it’s something that connects you to the poem, which is of course really powerful and I really enjoy, I’ve always loved writing, I’ve been writing since I was five. But the performing aspect brings a human element that I didn’t know was possible before I learned about some poetry. It’s possible and extremely interesting to be vulnerable in front of so many people and to know that they feel the same way, to hear their reaction and understand that you’re not alone and that there’s such a wide array of people out there that it is literally impossible for you to be alone in how you feel because there’s always one person at least who will connect with your poem.
What’s your favorite poem?
That I’ve written? I’ve written a poem...this is a toss up. I’ve written a poem dedicated to my dad who’s, uh going to prison for a long time, and it’s a list of things I wish I could tell him right now if I were speaking to him. It’s a list of things that all kind of connect to the things that I’ve felt I‘ve overlooked in my childhood or things I wish he would understand and I don’t think he will because he’s going to prison and he will miss that lesson. So it’s a really powerful poem and I cry every time I perform it because at the end it’s just like I wish all of these things are true but I’m sorry you’re just not gunna see who I am when I’m a grown women. You’re not going to see all my accomplishments the rest of my family will get to see. My favorite poem in general...it has to be Point B by Sarah Kay because it is why I started writing and it reminds me of my mom a lot.
Going back to the “human connection’ you said earlier and the poem about your father, do you like the vulnerability? Does it scare you to be vulnerable in front of audiences or do you get excited?
I think probably both. The way I started advertising for my poetry club senior year was by sharing a similar poem about the past few years of my life, and it’s not a happy poem, but I was sharing it with complete strangers. I had only been at that school for about a month and I was just sharing this part of my life with them. It excited me because even the people who didn’t want to interact with me after that it was like I didn’t want to interact with the anyway. There’s something really important to me about being able to interact on a really deep level and if there are people that are scared of that, then those aren’t really the people I want to talk to all of the time. It’s scary but it’s important because it’s what got them to come to my club, people recognize authenticity and want that and to an extent wishes their life was more authentic than it really is. Even if people live a super authentic lives, there is always small things that they are drawn to that are more authentic. So vulnerability is a very authentic aspect of human life, and at some point you’re going to have to be vulnerable with yourself and with other people,. I think my favorite part of slam poetry and of the human connectedness is that it proves that it’s okay. It proves that we don’t have to hide our feelings, we don’t have to hide all these things that’ve happened to us because there is always going to be someone there for you, there is always going to be someone who understands. I remember after I competed in the Salt City Slam festival in early summer and I performed my poem called Crayon Box which is about racism and discrimination and just why society is wrong when it comes to imposing stereotypes on people. After the slam this little old lady came up to me and was so enthusiastic about my poem. I’ve alway been proud of that poem, it’s always been my go to, my first performance at any place, but the fact that this lady was coming up to me asking for my information, the fact that she found it so important was kind of shocking to me because usually I get a younger audience really pumped, but it was this little old lady who thought “Yeah, racism sucks!” I was blown away that connection could transcend the original boundaries I thought.
Last question, you had a poetry group in high school, is that something you want to continue here at Regis?
You know, I’ve thought about it for sure, it’s definitely something I’m interested in and I would love to have a group of people who love to write and perform. I’d have to become a better teacher. In high school it kind of turned into this things where we show up and share poetry and go to open mic every month. I don’t know if this year it’s possible, but next year it’s definitely something I’d look into. I know that I do want to do poetry for the rest of my life, I just don’t know what path to take yet, but I’ll get there. So yes, probably.