Hey everyone! My post today isn't going to be a book review like normal. A few days ago, Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye -- spoken word poets from Project V.O.I.C.E -- did a performance and poetry workshop at my college. If you've never heard any of their poetry I STRONGLY urge you to YouTube them and listen to their work (also listen to Sarah's TED talk). When I found out they were coming, I was SO excited to see them and now that I have, I wanted to share the experience with anyone reading this, for a few reasons. Not only did I get a chance to meet two of the people I look up to the most, they had a workshop event afterwards where they gave writing tips that I'd love to share with you. I know any avid reader can appreciate the feeling of freaking out an being excited over an event or meeting someone so I figured this would be a good place to share my experience. And if I introduce a few people to Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye along the way, that's an added bonus!
I've been a fan of spoken word poetry for many years and I've been a fan of Sarah and Phil for quite a while too. I have memorized some of their poems word for word just by watching them on YouTube so many times. Listening to them gives me chills and when I found out they were coming to my campus, nothing could hide t excitement. I was flailing and jumping and fangirling for ages. However,no amount of hours spent watching videos could compare to the real, live thing.
The first thing I noticed: Sarah was tall. Phil was taller, but he is a boy and therefore expected to be tall. Her tallness was above the female average. Very fitting, considering her words are larger than life and can fill up an entire room, demanding and commanding attention.
The last thing I noticed: Phil is soft spoken. When he recites poems, oh boy does his voice resonate and carry. But e recites in such a soft, beautiful way, one can't help but listen closely and hang on to every word. And when he speaks conversationally, his voice is so quiet and smooth it's absolutely stunning.
Anyway, watching them perform live was a wonderful experience I want to relive forever and ever. Every second and every word had a new way of chilling me to the bond. Even the poems I watched so much I memorized had a COMPLETELY different event live. It was so beautiful and sincere and overall perfect.
After the performance, they had a little booth of some of their books for sale and said that even if you don't buy anything, come on line just to talk to them. How cute is that? I bought two books and had them signed and I made sure I told them exactly how excited I was to be there and how much I loved them and how much they inspired me.
After that, we were waiting for last minute sign ups for the workshop and says bong around and Sarah and Phil were kind enough to take pictures with people so this is a thing that happened that I am still not over and probably never will be over.
After a short while, we began the workshop, which was one of the best experiences I've had. It was a very small group of people so it was very up close and personal and they took the name to remember all our names. I am going to repeat this again because it made me so happy I actually still cannot contain myself, multiple days later. SARAH KAY AND PHIL KAYE SPOKE TO ME ON A NAME TO NAME LEVEL. Anyway, we started with an exercise of writing down things we knew to be true. In this way, they taught us that if you ever need something to write about, write down things you know to be true, and then play with those ideas until you have a real, workable idea. Not every story has to be about abstract things like life and time and happiness. Something about that time you punched your best friend in the face can be just as powerful if you do it right.
We also did exercises in picking a word and taking it further than just speaking it. We had arm movements and body movements and threw ourselves into the word, and everyone else threw themselves back as if mirroring us. Sarah and Phil said that to perform spoken word, you have to make sure all of yourself is committed to each and every word and that nothing seems stiff and awkward.
They did a few more exercises with us, some of them silly, all of them insightful and I know I learned a LOT about writing -- not just poetry but writing in general. This was such an amazing experience and opportunity and it's left its impression on me in a way I hope I can use to improve myself. See you next week!