Last Friday, April 3, spoken word poet Carlos Andrés Gómez brought his provocative brand of spoken word poetry to Kresge Recital Hall. During his set, he continually reminded the crowd of how beautiful they were; his kindhearted stage presence resonated well with the audience members. Throughout his performance, he interspersed his poems with stage banter and digressions that added context, social relevance and familiarity to his poetry. Through his literature, the traveling poet seeks to provide validation to audiences.
“I want to speak into the silences of my work in a way that makes people feel seen, and affirmed, and beautiful, and enough. That’s my thesis,” Gómez said.
His performance emphasized audience participation as he consistently reached out to the audience members to tell their own stories and invited audience members to the stage to partake in his demonstrations. Those in attendance felt that his constant calls for participation made the performance all the more engaging, and that his performance overall was deeply impactful on a personal level.
“Today I decided I want to be a creative writing major … seeing him perform and seeing his life, and seeing the power that he has, has made me feel grounded in that decision,” sophomore Sanna Sepulveda said.
Gómez’s effort to connect with every individual in the room was fueled by his consciousness of all different backgrounds and stages of life. Gómez spoke of a particularly powerful experience in which his sister taught him the importance of letting audiences know that, though he is a poet, he didn’t learn to read until he was almost 10. His story kept the strong energy of openness and love alive in the room.
Gómez cites the energy in his performance and his writing as his personal inspiration.
“[My process] is like sculpting,” Gómez said. “You’re like carving away, carving away, carving away and there’s a moment when you finally polish it off, and you don’t realize it ‘till the moment you see it and you feel it in your body.”