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Author opens conversation of spoken word

by Nicholas Mazur - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Apr 17th 2018 08:00 pm

The Writers Forum makes great efforts to provide its attendees with unique authors and unique experiences. Because of that, you may experience a major shift in the events from author to author. 

Aja Monet, the most recent author to be received by the Writers Forum, was vastly different than her predecessor, Kaveh Akbar. Akbar was one focused almost entirely on poetry, and although Monet is a poet as well, her reading was far different.

Monet’s attitude was a political one, and her poems, her ideas and her views were politically charged. Her poetry had a purpose and she wanted the world to know it. Monet was in no way abrasive not blocked off in her ideals. She was very open with the students she talked to in the Q&A before the reading and seemed to have a genuine desire to dissect her poetry and explain the relationship between her work and her politics to help students better understand.

Anne Panning, co-director of the Writers Forum, gave an introduction to the reading, citing the second time this semester that another class has joined in on the activities.   

As Monet’s work crosses from writing into feminist theory, “We want to share writers and collaborate as much as we can, so it’s really beautiful when we can all come together,” Panning said. 

Panning also gave a small introduction to Monet and her work, emphasizing the activism present in the very fabric of her methods. 

“These are not sitting around in a chair poems,” Panning said. 

Monet herself also explained her roots in poetry came from performing spoken word, describing her readings and poetry less of poetry and more of spoken word.

Monet’s attitude for the entire night, in fact, was one of blatant openness, appearing to hold nothing back from the crowd. She discussed things in her poems she thought deserved to be told at great length with the audience. 

Fear of swearing was not present, nor was switching to a more casual tone with the audience to better communicate her frame of reference. She was an author who made her reading feel less like a reading and more like a fascinating lecture for the audience. 

Her demeanor was laced with the ease of someone who knows how to control a room and its mood, and she made sure that the mood was relaxed. That being said, she certainly was the only speaker in the room. 

Everyone was clearly rapt with attention, pausing in their awe only to laugh when Monet made another one of her sharp, quick jokes about anything from “yoni stones,” to the setup of a serious story starting with, “a pastor, a lawyer, a poet and a doctor are smoking a joint.”

It is difficult to describe the effect that Monet had on the crowd; however, it was certain that no one could have left the event without learning something, be it about politics and the dangers of capitalism, the dangerous case of race relations in America, or just how to be totally open and honest about yourself, your poetry. Even before the reading at the Q&A, Monet was careful to stress the importance of the writer and their work.

 “There is something about when you get to a place of writing your story or writing any story, even if its not yours, you will show up in it, somehow something about you will be revealed,” Monet said.

Monet lived up to her advice, as the poetry she shared from her first full collection, “My mother was a freedom fighter,” was so full of poetry that she could not help but stop (sometimes halfway through a poem) to explain how that poem related back to her freinds, her life and her experiences.



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