Championing Voices Through Poetry

poetry cornerSince its inception on October 8, 2018, the Learning Commons Poetry Corner Series continues to be more than a monthly event where an instructor and a few students just gather in Skyline College Library’s lounge area to read classical poetry and engage in boring philosophical discussions. The Poetry Corner continues to be that activity where students express their ideas, read their original work, declare their spoken word and engage in challenging discussions.

On February 13, 2019, Spring semester kicked off with African American Heritage Month. Three original paintings by Skyline College student Calvonnia Kelly were on display and Nathan Jones, English Associate Professor, published author and host of the Learning Commons Poetry Corner, facilitated the poetry reading.  After reading his response to a poem written by Maya Angelou, the discussion commenced with a question about the parallelism and differences of the African American communities in Oakland, CA and Harlem, NY.

Middle College student Jessica Jacinto also shared her original poems: “What happened to 1?” was about her desire to pursue political science as a major with an emphasis on social justice, as well as imagining herself in the shoes of victims of systemic racism. “Fake News, Real News” was an ode to journalists who have passed while pointing out the tragedy of suppressing the journalistic voice. The most poignant stanza “as I look out at the ropes of society, fake news becomes our reality while reality is distinguished, causing us to lose our mortality” was a reminder of the damaging effects of fake news.

Sonya Pope, Interim Division Assistant for Global Learning Programs, shared her original poem, “We Must Speak Her Name.”  She wrote this in response to police brutality toward women like Sandra Bland and many others. This spurred more students to share published poems that spoke to the need for empathy and support for the communities that are continually being disenfranchised.  Even another student who decided to leave his study group shared the chorus line from a Kanye West song called “We Don’t Care.”  With over 20 attendees, this successful event sets the precedent for what is to come in the next two months.

Join the Learning Commons Poetry Corner on March 15, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. in the Skyline College Library. Kim Davalos, Pinay, counselor for Student Services, photographer and published poet, will host and share her original poems, as well as other female artists in honor of Women’s History Month. Treats and refreshments will be served.

If you have any questions, please contact Rob Williams, williamsr@smccd.edu; Pia Walawalkar, walawalkars@smccd.edu; or Sherri Wyatt, wyatts@smccd.edu. See you at the next Learning Commons Poetry Corner event from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. on March 15, 2019!

Article and Photo by Sherri Wyatt

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