News

Spoken Word Poetry Events

If you’re getting tired of the usual line-up of CLPs, it seems that Furman is allowing CLPs of a different variety lately. In the past months we have had two spoken word events that have been granted CLP status.

By Sarah Harrod, Copy Editor

If you’re getting tired of the usual line-up of CLPs, it seems that Furman is allowing CLPs of a different variety lately. In the past months we have had two spoken word events that have been granted CLP status.

It may seem harder to get CLP approval with the new regulations in place, but there seem to be plenty of professors willing to endorse spoken word poets. At the end of September, Student League for Black Culture (SLBC) brought Shihan to campus.

The Burgiss Theater filled up quickly for the event, which proved to be very interactive. The crowd heard some of Shihan’s best poems but also got to ask him questions, not just at the end but between poems as well, during which he told a lot of slice-of-life stories. He even stuck around afterwards to chat and take pictures.

Most recently, Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS) brought in Andrea Gibson. The turnout for this CLP was impressive. Furman students and Greenville residents flooded the space in front of Daniel Recital Hall to wait for this event, eagerly hoping for the previous event’s audience to clear out quickly so they could fill most of the seats in the recital hall.

After an introduction from Dr. Gilbert Allen of the English Department, the spoken word CLP commenced. Andrea Gibson was met with applause and proceeded to perform about ten of her poems, including “Pansies,” “Say Yes,” “I Do,” and “Ashes.” She even performed a poem, “Birthday,” that was requested by someone in the audience. She had a lot of good stories to tell in between poems that added to the poetry experience, bringing a personal feeling to each piece.

Like Shihan, Gibson allotted time for a question and answer session at the end of her set. She was very open in her answers, which allowed for a better look into the mind and life of a professional poet. After the event she took her spot behind her merchandise table, which was immediately surrounded by people wanting to ask more questions or purchase one of her CDs. Spoken word doesn’t completely escape the heavier themes.

Both poets touched on serious social issues, Shihan addressed race issues and Gibson certainly had some political themes in her poetry. Despite these overtones, spoken word CLPs have managed to break the mold of the typical subject matter of many CLPs on campus, as they are neither overtly political or religious.

These CLPs may have gotten less publicity, but they covered very different territory. So these CLPs focused on things that CLPs usually do but in a more emotional and engaging way. Shihan and Gibson moved us with their words on life, love and everything in between and students even got CLP credit for it.

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