True to its name, the poetry slam Saturday afternoon did not consign itself to any one subject. Instead, The (X) Agenda—the Fill-in-the-Blank Agenda—tackled the intersections of race, gender, and class.

The event, which was coordinated by the Pride Network and featured No Disclaimers—a poetry group in the Black Students’ Union—and guest poet Natasha Miller, began with a brief overview of the Pride Network, followed by performances by No Disclaimers on topics ranging from sex and politics to revolution and race. Every poem was followed by a flurry of snapping fingers, the audience expressing their appreciation for the lyrics of each piece.

After the students were finished reciting, Miller took the stage. Miller—a Detroit native and a spoken word poet—recited works such as “Halloween Suggestions for an Ex-Lover,” and “What You Sound Like When You Say All Lives Matter.”

Miller explained that she feels that the theme of loss is central to her works—the theme materialized after her brother died. She believes “there aren’t too many spaces for women of color to express their grief.”

Miller spoke of race, gender, queerness, transgender rights, violence, and love—all themes mingling in her work to produce a whirl of words that had the audience laughing, mourning, and at times, simply silent.

“Read other poetry,” Miller advised the poets in the room. “Explore as much as you can, find your own voice, write the things you know about, and always stay true to your own story.”

Freshman Brianna Zavala, the event’s organizer, stressed the importance of the event.
“The topics that were covered […] were important, because often people, especially college students, aren’t able to express how they feel without judgment” Zavala said. “At this event, people’s feelings were legitimized. We would hope people who attended were able […] to see the representation of an African American, lesbian, woman, who is so successful and dedicated to doing activist work for the LGBTQ+ community.”

Tagged: LGBTQ poetry Race

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