Apr 202004
Authors: Joanna Larez

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,”

Flores said.

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

and gender.

“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.

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