Is poetry enough to send a message, make a statement and cause change? Senior Meaghan Hamilton, Madeleine Tommins ‘18 and Madison Ortiz ‘20 believe so. As students enrolled in a Black Lives Matter course, they were asked to develop a group project. Since the project guidelines were open ended, the three women decided to create a Black Lives Matter poetry workshop. The workshop took place on Monday, April 10 in Canisius Hall and had a turnout of five students and two professors.
The group hoped that by promoting their event as a poetry workshop, they might reach more of the Fairfield community than solely Black Lives Matter supporters.
“I feel like if you were to say there’s a Black Lives Matter event happening, people might be in support but they might think that it’s only targeted towards that specific community,” explained Tommins. “So, we chose to have it be a poetry workshop that aims to talk about all of these things but not market it as only a Black Lives Matter event.”
Surprised by the enthusiasm of professors, Hamilton commented on their participation. “Sometimes some professors are cool, chill and woke — or whatever the kids call it these days — but a lot of the times they aren’t as much,” said Hamilton. “Being in a situation where they don’t have the same power position, where they can just sit and listen to students, I feel like not enough of that can happen on campus.”
Due to the intimate circumstance, it gave the three leaders of the event a chance to talk to each attendee on a personal level and steer conversation towards the relationship between poetry and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Poetry is short, it’s sweet and it’s written in a language that is acceptable to all. That’s the point of poetry. Even if you aren’t well read on critical race theory, you can still hear a poem from someone and it could touch you,” said Hamilton.
Below is a poem written by workshop attendee Monet Monterroso ‘18.
You have to use the bathroom
I don’t know
Continuing to go around in this circle of avoidance
You have to stop
I try to tell you
You can’t listen
I stay, waiting
You finally come
We is now what remains