- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 28 September 2016
- Written by HALEY GASPARINE | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
A dash of cultural poetry, a pinch of eye-opening stories, and a spritz of new generation hip-hop all mixed together will get you The Breakbeat Poets. On Thursday, Sept. 15 authors from this revolutionary anthology performed in front of students at the University’s Wilson Hall.
The anthology featured 78 different poets from all over the country, born between 1961 and 1999. The book claimed to be the first poetry anthology by and for the hip-hop generation and attempted to create a unified statement by poets who have been shaped by the genre’s re-shaping of American prose. Angel Nafis, Nate Marshall, Kevin Coval, and Morgan Parker, four of the ‘Breakbeat Poets,’ performed a few of their most popular pieces, as well as told life stories and answered questions in a Q&A after the performance.
The poems shared by Kevin and Nate covered the general topics of love, sex, violence, and racism. Kevin stated that his poems were influenced by Drake’s newest rap album, Views, which became evident when he performed; he had a very fresh and rhythmic flow behind his style of wording. The topics performed by Angel and Morgan touched on the daily battles that women of color struggle within a male-dominated world. Angel performed one very powerful poem in particular, called Men, composed entirely of every cat-call she had ever been exposed to and ended up being the most memorable poem of the day for many different students, including myself.
“If I could describe tonight’s performance in just a few words I would say that it was powerful, insightful, and provocative,” said Zach Wheatley, a junior English student. “The poem Men by Angel really opened my eyes and showed me a new perspective of the daily life of a woman and what it is like to be cat-called. The poems that I heard today helped me to perceive the hostility and discomfort that women go through daily. It was intense but definitely a positive experience. I also really enjoyed the very hip and modern twist on poetry.”
Personally, out of the four performers, Angel’s performance resonated with me the most. Right from the start, she had the rest of the audience and myself hooked with her strong presence and confident demeanor. Her passionate voice and use of words gave me chills. As the youngest of the four poets, she had a sense of humor that really set her apart from the others. She demonstrated a steady hand in the craft of poignant, dark humor that toed the line of edgy and funny. Her poems exhibited the struggle for all women as well as the struggle for women of color. Her work has not only been featured in the Breakbeat Poets Anthology, but also in The Rumpus, Poetry Magazine, and more. In 2011 she represented the Louder Arts Poetry Project at both the National Poetry Slam and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. She was definitely many students’ favorite performer of the day.
“Angel’s poetry was my favorite. I thought it was really interesting how her and Morgan came from different backgrounds and collaborated together to speak out about very thought-provoking and taboo pieces of literature,” said Brittany Fitzpatrick, a sophomore student at Monmouth. “I am definitely considering buying the book!”
The book was on sale at the event for $20 and can be found online for students interested in their work. I highly recommend any student that could not attend the event and that enjoys important modern-day art pick up a copy of the book.
Although the experience of witnessing their poems performed live is lacking from the physical work, the words themselves are powerful enough on their own to evoke similarly visceral feelings an audience member would experience while watching the poets. The Breakbeat Poets are currently on a world tour as well, so be sure to find an area they may be touring near you—and don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!
IMAGE TAKEN from www.ahherald.com