Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
I competed in poetry slams in high school. I went to club every Thursday and wrote new pieces. I went to slams almost every Tuesday. I became very, very attached to this style of writing. I reconnected this summer with a friend I competed with and she sent me her list of favorite poems. A few really stood out to me, and here they are!
Scarecrow by the Brave New Voices Washington D.C. Team This is the first slam poem I ever listened to. I don’t even remember why I was listening to it or how I found it. But I do remember watching this performance and thinking “I want to perform like that.”
OCD by Neil Hilborn This poem is a great explanation of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. We even watched it in one of my psychology classes. It also shows how people without OCD view people with OCD. My favorite line? “I can’t breathe because he only kisses her once, he doesn’t care if it’s perfect.”
Elephant Engine High Dive Revival by Buddy Wakefield My junior year English teacher used to play this poem for us on bad days. Part of me is reminded of David Sedaris, part of me is left confused, and the rest of me gets it without having to completely understand.
Cat Poem by the Brave New Voices Los Angeles Team I’ve watched these girls perform both online and in person. They’re just as hilarious in person as on stage. I also love how they use this poem to make fun of slam poetry. They’re great!
We Boys by the Homeword Asheville NC Brave New Voices Team I never went to Brave New Voices with Homeword, but these are the people I competed against in high school. This poem was written my junior year when feminism was becoming a larger part of pop culture. To boil it all down, these are the reasons boys need gender equality too. (Also, just FYI, this is very explicit).
Do you have a favorite slam poem?
Whenever I go to the beach I make sure to bring enough books to read. This summer, however, I knew I had a goal of twelve books as well as the May, June, and July books for the bookclub I’m in. That’s fifteen books for an entire summer, over half of what I usually read per year! Usually I have a daunting to-read list, but I didn’t know where to start this time.
I started off the summer with The Goldfinch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and the Inheritance Cycle. After that, I hit a wall. I spent a lot of my downtime at work surfing through Twitter instead of reading. Politics, even though I dislike them, have been interesting this year. Its like reality tv with all the drama and he-said-she-said gossip going on. That’s when I decided a book on small town politics might not be such a bad thing to read at the beach. I picked up The Casual Vacancy the day before we left for Topsail and didn’t put it down until I’d finished it three days after.
The Casual Vacancy is a book about Pagford, a small town in England. The story revolves around the death of Barry Fairbrother, a member of the Pagford Parish Council. Barry is loved by everyone and loves everyone in return. He has a big heart, but politically that’s what gets him into trouble. Many years ago, Pagford and Yarvil were friendly neighbor cities, Yarvil being the bigger of the two with a large estate sitting between them. The estate sold lands to Pagford to make cheap housing. Decades later, the cheap housing has become government housing, and is costing Pagford quite a bit of money in the end. Barry wants to keep “the Fields” and the addiction clinic as part of Pagford. The other half of the council does not. When there is a casual vacancy because of Barry’s death, the entire town splits between pro-fielders and anti-fielders and those running for council find themselves the topic of discriminatory posts on the Parish Council website.
What did I tell you, politics with a side of reality tv show worthy gossip! If you like Rowling’s writing style for Harry Potter (this isn’t exactly the same, but it’s not far off) and are interesting in small town politics then I’d definitely give this book a go!
As I mentioned in this post, my mom and I went to see Disney’s The Lion King in Greenville a few weekends ago. I absolutely loved it! I’ve only ever been to Greenville, SC once before, and that was to help pick up my friend’s uncle from the airport. So, I’d never actually been to Downtown Greenville.
My mom and I explored (and got lost) for a little bit before we ate dinner. I loved the weather – sunny, high seventies, and breezy – and really enjoyed being able to eat outside. My mom and I hadn’t made reservations for anywhere, so we ended up at Larkin’s on the River on the patio.
An outdoor concert with the band The Watchtower Incident was scheduled to start at the same time as our play, so my mom and I watching band rehearse and set up. My dad is in a band called The Procrastinators, and whenever I’m home I usually watch them practice. Band rehearsal and set up is definitely not a foreign territory for me!
I grew up performing. I love to sing, dance, and act. I had parts in small musicals from age three to age fourteen, and after that I joined a choral group at my high school and began performing slam poetry at age sixteen. Even though I don’t perform anymore, I still love to watch. It brings back so many memories!
If I’m being honest, I loved the play The Lion King better than the movie. The stage makeup and costume design were phenomenal. And the comedic relief, Zazu, never failed to make the audience shake with laughter (especially when he began to sing Let it Go from Frozen!).
Here are some examples of the costume design and puppets that make the show that much more realistic:
The lions wore large African style wooden masks and most other animal either held or wore a large puppet. Rafiki, on the other hand, only had a tail to classify her as a monkey. Something my mom pointed out is that Rafiki is more of a spirit or priestess than a monkey, which is why she doesn’t have any of the defining features of an animal on stage, like a mask or a puppet. I thought this was a great distinction to make.
So much has happened since Anchor Jam last week! But before I talk about my crazy hectic life, I want to give a big shoutout to my brother for getting his Eagle this Sunday. Eagle is the highest rank a member of the Boy Scouts of America can earn. There are countless service hours, badges, and camping trips put in to obtaining this award, as well as life long lessons about growing up. On average, only four percent of Boy Scouts ever make Eagle. Like the phrase ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine’ once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout. Congrats on this huge life achievement!
Did anybody else watch UNC’s buzzer beater shot to win the UNC vs. Kentucky game? Someone synced up the Titanic theme song to the final ten seconds of the game, and it fits the moment to a T! Give it a watch, you’re guaranteed a laugh.
Who here likes coffee? Who here likes politics? Who here likes politics and coffee at the same time, because now there’s an app for that. According to Mediaite, Starbucks is giving out free coffee to people on opposite sides of the political spectrum if they use the app Hi from the Other Side to meet up and engage in a civil discourse. I’m all about free coffee, and I love the idea that we should be coming together as a nation by trying to at least understand each other’s values rather than fight over them. I wrote a post about this the day after the Presidential election if you want to check it out.
And, of course, a small update on my own life: I gave my first mock tour of my University for Arch Society! This was something I’ve been terrified of for the longest time, but my mentor told me I did wonderfully. I also have another big life update…check back on Monday to see what it is!
It’s been such a long week, filled with some crazy good surprises!
First off, I made it onto the 2017 Homecoming Committee! For those of you that are new to Bailey Studies Psych and don’t know, I was on the Homecoming Committee for 2016 as the Community Outreach Chair. This year I’ve been selected to be the Court Chair, which plans and executes Homecoming Court interviews, selection, voting, banquet, and crowning.
I also made it into The Arch Society for the University of Georgia (which was perhaps the greatest surprise of the week).
I’ve also been doing yoga more, following an amazing Youtube yogi named Adriene.
Speaking of yoga, check out this sweet set of yogi master army figurines!
And just in time for Valentine’s Day – comedic candles that smell like certain world leaders (lookin’ at you, Justin Trudeau)
Happy Day! Have a great rest of your week!
Today is February first. Not only does today mark the beginning of Black History Month, it’s the birthday of one of America’s celebrated writers: Langston Hughes.
Langston Hughes was born in 1902 in Joplin, Missouri. Hughes first started writing poetry while living with his grandmother in Lincoln, Illinois and published his first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, in 1926. His first novel, Not Without Laughter, was published in 1930. Hughes is known for his portrayals of life as an African American. His writing, as well as his life, helped to shape the Harlem Renaissance. Possibly his most famous work is the poem Dream Deferred, which is what I’d like to share with you today. The poem talks about the “American dream” as it applied to blacks living in America during the 1920’s through the 1960’s. Even though the imagery is gore-y and gruesome, I still claim this poem as one of my favorites from Hughes’ works.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I’d also like to share a poem of his called I, Too. The lyrical nature of this poem is absolutely beautiful, and the message is so empowering. I remember reading this poem aloud, as a class, in high school. Like the last, this poem also speaks about life for blacks in America in the ’20s and ’60s.
Spotify also has a playlist of Hughes reading his poetry, which I’d really recommend. Nothing quite beats hearing a poet read their own work! You can find the playlist by clicking the link HERE.