Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Famous Poet Recites at Valencia Communtiy College

”Poetry has the power to move us from a place inside our heads, to a safer place,” Patricia Smith said Thursday, Sept. 16 while performing in the Student Lounge of the Winter Park Campus.

Smith is the author of Blood Dazzler, her fifth book and most recently published book of poetry. Last week, she stood in front of a group of more than 80 students, all eyes glued on her, as she read a few of her pieces. Some of them were straight from her book, others were recited from beneath closed eyelids.

Freshman Jillian Harris, said “If I closed my eyes, I could’ve seen the faces of the people she was reading about. It’s like she was channeling another person through her voice.”

During Smith’s performance of the poem, “34,” her voice fluctuated while she re-enacted 34 personalities that she remembers from her time in Louisiana, after hurricane Katrina hit.

She said she felt compelled to connect with these individuals, who were struggling so visibly, without food to fill their children’s bellies and no beds to rest their heads in.

”She’s really ballsy and cool,” Harris said. “She shows no fear.”

Student Dylan Morley asked Smith about how she goes about the writing process. She shared some insight into her life, as a teen, as well as what it takes to inspire her now.

Movies on television, such as Clash of the Titans, have provided beginning ideas for some of her poems. She wrote a poem about how Medusa came to be the way she is, as a direct result, of watching late-night TV.

“I record snippets of the conversations of people I encounter and I keep a small recorder under my pillow, just in case,” Smith said.

In between poems, she’d ask how the audience was doing and would shift her weight from one foot to the next, in visible anticipation.

“I judge my poems by the way the audience reacts and by the looks on their faces,” she said.

There was a question and answer part to the event, as well as time for book signing, last Thursday. She currently teaches literature and poetry at City University of New York.

Previously published in the Valencia Voice

Friday, September 3, 2010

Valencia's Welcome Back BBQ

Valencia’s Welcome Back BBQ is a staple that marks the beginning of each new year at the college. This past Thursday, the West campus hosted the event with a turn out of more than 100 students.

As soon as Fall semester began, news of the event traveled around the campus. Some were warned of the impending frenzy and others just happened upon the scene, by chance.

“I was just about to get some lunch, then I heard some music and I figured they were doing something spectacular,” sophomore, Anthony Alicea said.

Student, Von Jennings heard of the BBQ through his Atlas email account and “I think one of the maintenance men told me about it last week,” he said.

SGA organizes Welcome Back Day, every year, but this time around Juliana Montoya is serving as president of the club. She help set the BBQ into motion.

As far as activities go, Premed student, Manvella Pope, had her silhouette drawn and quickly cut out by artist, Susan and also received a free sign plate from another of the vendors.

Along with the many booths encouraging students to register to vote and dishing out body art, there were also tables spreading the word on different clubs and organizations.

Pope said “I like that there are other groups here, like HERO for humans rights.”

For the upcoming Consitution Day, Valencia will have a treasure hunt, with a brand new Kindle as first place prize. The goal, here, is for students to become familiar with the West campus while learning more about the details of the U.S. Constitution, Montoya said.

Previously published in the Valencia Voice