One of the many things I do in my spare time is work for MSU’s Center for Poetry. I love it. It’s been a good opportunity to meet a lot of talented people, and I think it may have rubbed off on me.
Tonight, we had Suheir Hammad perform for us. We don’t do a lot of slam poetry at the Center, but it’s always a nice change of pace.
Hammad was amazing. I’m always impressed by a good slam poet (I’m looking at you, Shane Koyczan and Mos Def). I love that she was not afraid to by funny or silly. And I loved that she wrote poetry about women. Slam poetry, at least in my mind, is a male dominated art, and sometimes I see slam pieces that hate on women (And for that, I’m looking at you, Kanye.) Her last poem in particular, she asked us, as an audience, to imagine “the feminine.” I imagined my Feminism class, how we’re reading French Feminism that talks about that. And I thought about women. The poem was about women who are broken, and I couldn’t help but think about every woman I’ve seen make her body up like she’s her own doll, and how every time she comes home she doesn’t feel any better.
If you ever get a chance to see her, do it. You’ll be glad. You’ll walk out feeling stronger.
Attached are a few videos are her. This one is incredible. Political poetry is so hard, but she totally pulls it off.
This next one is the poem she opened up on. I loved it. Again, such great alliteration. It’s a perfect combination.
“Your war drums ain’t louder than this breath.”
The only thing I would say about these videos is that she is much more intense live. I was sitting less than three feet away from her, and when she looked into my eyes, I know she saw everything.