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Verbal Blend’s Fifth Annual Spoken Word Poetry Institute Features Alumni Poets, Daylong Workshop
Verbal Blend, the premier spoken-word poetry program coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will host its fifth annual Spoken Word Poetry Institute featuring six alumni poets and presentation of the Poetic Icon Award. This year’s institute is Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, hosted in partnership with Parent and Family Services as part of Family Weekend.
The institute begins on Friday with a panel discussion and reading themed “Voicing the Revolution” featuring six alumni poets: Aaron Hudson ’11; Ousman Diallo ’12, G’14; Morgan Striggles ’12; Michelle Tarshus ’13, G’16; Christiona Hawkins ’13; and Flose Boursiquot ’14. The panel starts at 7 p.m. in the Schine Student Center Underground. Following the panel, attendees can participate in an open mic. Presentation of the Poetic Icon Award will conclude the event. This year’s honorees are Omanii Abdullah, Georgia Popoff and Jackie Warren-Moore.
Tickets for Friday’s event are free, but required. Students, faculty, staff and community members can get tickets at the Schine Student Center Box Office. Students can request additional tickets for parents and family members visiting during Family Weekend.
A daylong workshop for writers and performers is scheduled for Saturday, beginning at noon in Room 103 in the Schine Student Center. Boursiquot, Tarshus and Tarshus’ spoken-word partner Marco Soulo will facilitate the workshop, titled “The Revolution of Words, Voice and Performance.” Students, faculty, staff and community members should register for the workshop by emailing Cedric T. Bolton, coordinator of student engagement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
“The Spoken Word Poetry Institute is an excellent platform for students to deepen their study, appreciation and awareness of social issues through spoken-word poetry,” says Bolton. “The campus and community get to see how scholarship and the arts have no boundaries, and watch as student performers stretch their imagination to create a new world through dramatic wordplay. We’re especially grateful to have so many Verbal Blend alumni returning to share their poetry and support students in expanding their spoken word practice.”
Verbal Blend is a spoken-word poetry program designed to enhance students’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. The program is composed of a seven-week workshop series on journal entries, poetry forms, performance styles and peer-reviews. The group organizes the Spoken Word Poetry Institute, Take the Mic Poetry Slams and other poetry events throughout the year.
For more information, contact Bolton at 315.443.9676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
During her undergraduate studies, Hawkins founded MESH Literary Magazine, served on the founders’ council of Nu Rho Poetic Society and was a faithful member of Verbal Blend. She also served as the vice president of PACE for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. After graduation, she pursued her passion for education and working with young people by joining Teach For America and serving as a high school teacher for an alternative school on the west side of Detroit. She continued her studies at Oakland University School of Education and obtained a M.A. in teaching secondary education. She currently is an English teacher in an all-girls school in Washington, D.C.
Hudson is a project manager at JP Morgan Chase & Co., a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Between LaGuardia Community College and Syracuse University, he has found his voice in writing and sharing poems with diverse communities.
Tarshus has traveled the spoken-word scene with partner Marco Soulo as Signature Soul, an electric duo performing at colleges, universities, churches and grade schools. They “raise a collective consciousness one Soul at a time.” Tarshus is one of the co-founders of Nu Rho Poetic Society at Syracuse University.
Diallo is a freelance photographer’s assistant whose clients include Nike, Uniqlo, Loft, V-Magazine, Versace, Italian Vogue and Alexander Wang.
Boursiquot, a Haitian-born spoken-word artist who lives in Palm Beach County, has published two collections of poetry books, “Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe” and “Loudmouth.” Boursiquot’s poems detail her family political history in Haiti and recount her finding poetry during one of the most difficult periods of her life, as a child working to understand sexual trauma.
Striggles is a fashion/promotional model and the CEO of Divine Runway Model Training. He has appeared in several large shows, including Kanye West’s “Yeezy Season 3” and Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week/Concert. He has been featured in W Magazine.