Express yourself, be real, stand up against the norms in
Such topics echoed through the spoken poetry in the Presidents
Room of Ammons Hall last night as about 40 people gathered for a
presentation by the Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word.
Paul Flores, Amalia Ortiz and Marc David Pinate, some of HBO’s
Def Poetry Performers, shared the struggles, pleasures, highs and
lows of their lives. In monologues and group performances, Spanish
words and phrases mixed into the poems as they were presented with
passion. The poets sang, whispered, yelled and spoke
conversationally in their performances.
Many of the poems evoked laughter from the audience, at times
when they could relate to the issue.
Flores shared some poetry about the joys and sorrows of love.
Pinate shared childhood stories and satirical opinions about the
stereotypes that he faces as a Hispanic. Ortiz gave the performance
a woman’s perspective.
“My target audience is women of color and our visions of the
future,” Ortiz said. “There has to be a woman in the group speaking
up for the women, or else no one else will do it.”
Jennifer Pacheco, assistant director of educational talent
search, got into the poetry as she joined Flores saying, “summer in
San Francisco,” during a reference to Mark Twain.
“This is poetry for the people,” Pinate said. “Allow yourself to
get into it and get emotional.”
Pacheco writes poetry and felt a connection with the
“It touched on common themes that have to do with being
Chicano,” Pacheco said.
Pinate said he felt great energy in the audience as he was about
to begin another piece.
“You guys have been a really good audience,” Pinate said. “I
feel a lot of love in the room.”
The performance included stories as well as encouragement for
writers. Flores is the program director for Youth Speaks in San
Francisco. The organization presents spoken word for teenagers.
Flores discussed issues he said are not in the news, are glossed
over or are the stereotypes. There was a theme that encouraged the
audience to pursue its true interests, especially those that
included writing and performing poetry.
“All you need is a pen, pad and desire to tell your story,”
Jesse Ramirez, senior political science major, enjoyed the
performance, especially the encouragement.
“We all have it inside,” Ramirez said. “It’s just a matter of
letting it out.”
The issues at hand were based on experiences as Hispanics.
Flores said he uses many different issues that Hispanics face.
“We don’t pound people with pain and suffering,” Flores
The performance was brought to an end with a group performance
in which the poets shared their dreams for America. They shared
their dreams of a future that lacks hate and discrimination of race
“We address subject matter that brings a familiarity between the
audience and the performer,” Pinate said.
Rich Salas, associate director of El Centro Student Services,
said the event is part of the effort to bring something different
to the CSU and Fort Collins communities.
“It’s all about creating educational opportunities for the
students and getting the community involved,” he said.
The event was sponsored by Westaf, the National Performance
Netework, Fort Collins Cinco de Mayo Committee, El Centro Student
Services and Sigma Lambda Beta, Inc.