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Poet continues Latino heritage month

September 24, 2010


Gabriela Garcia Medina has a way with words. Wednesday, the Cuban-born spoken word poet demonstrated her talent before an enthusiastic audience of 50–75 people as part of After Hours. Medina was brought to Monmouth College as part of Latino Heritage Month.

In her opening poem, “The World’s Greatest Magician,” Medina managed to pull the beauty, magic and wealth of love from the tribulations of growing up poor, as she alternated fluidly between the rhythms of English and Spanish.

Throughout the night, Medina kept her audience laughing with a sassy sense of humor. In “My Intimate Revolution,” Medina declared, “I get aroused by embroidery.”

In “At Least I’m a Good Poet” Medina mused about a failed cooking attempt, “I bring each plate into the living room like a dead man walking, awaiting execution for premeditated cooking and accidental poisoning.”

But her poetry was not all fun and games. In her poem “Four Women,” Medina eloquently recounted incidents of rape, sweatshop labor, harassment and physical abuse. In her final poem, “Extension of My Poetry,” she ruminated about her personal shortcomings and quirks, declaring, “There’s a real woman inside my poetry finding herself and redefining herself constantly.”

Whether she employed humor or seriousness, the audience responded warmly. Senior Fanetta Jones said of the performance, “I was greatly impressed.”

“My writing is inspired by epiphanies I have, by experiences I have,” said Medina. She also said she found inspiration in the people she meets and in her activism.

Medina hoped that her inspirations would in turn inspire her audience. “I feel like my job as a writer is to inspire and empower you,” said Medina.

To burgeoning poets and writers Medina advises, “Don’t major in something you don’t love just because it’s safe … take the risk. If you believe in yourself enough, it will be worth it.”

The event, sponsored by the Association for Student Activity Planning, Raices and Intercultural Life, also featured a couple of dances from members of Raices, a story by the group’s president, Cristopher Escobar, about immigrating to America from Guatemala and two poems performed by Wynton Shannon.

“I think it went over extremely well,” said Tim Gilmore, After Hours chair, “There’s something for everyone and, even if it’s something you may not normally think of, you can always come and have a good time.”

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