Speak up through spoken-word performance

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SPEAK’s purpose is to bring the power of poetry to the stage.—JACOB REYES

As the last gleam of sunlight wanes, giving way to night, a Makati bakery remains radiant next to its surrounding shops, drawing teenagers, parents and twentysomethings. Some come to buy baked goods, but others arrive for the unique event organized that night.

For the third time, Staple and Perk Bakery on Eco Plaza Building serves as the venue for SPEAK, a spoken-word affair where an assortment of people recites their poems for a minimum of two minutes before a live audience.

Power of poetry

SPEAK’s purpose is simple: to bring forth the power of poetry to the stage—or any place for that matter—with the hope of leaving people with a sense of wisdom and strength. As poet-critic and spoken-word advocate Robert Pinsky once said, “The poetry I love is written with someone’s voice and I believe its proper culmination is to be read with someone’s voice.”

Indeed, whether a poem is recited from memory or read aloud from a book, its impact is felt and sustained long after an event is over.

“You will get your heart broken,” declares writer Zoe Andin, addressing a friend and the crowd in the room that night, “not only by boys, not only by girls, but by places, songs, faces you’ve never even met.” Andin’s “A Gentle Reminder” is one of the event’s highlights.

As the evening progresses, the room gradually fills up. People sitting on the floor are asked to move forward to accommodate newcomers. Many are on their feet. Despite the limited space, no one complains. The spoken word has clearly captured the crowd.

Poetry is, without a doubt, not lost on Filipinos today. SPEAK and many other open-mic events happening throughout the country are a testament to poetry’s relevance.

“There aren’t many spoken-word events that cater to young performers,” says Arianna Flavier, a poet and one of the organizers of SPEAK. “I hope the rise of spoken-word events continues to flourish, where young writers come together and share what they have created.” —CONTRIBUTED

To be You student correspondent, Zoe Andin

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