I have recently been delving into the world of the arts, specifically poetry, as a form of resistance-- a platform to foster change. I attended a lecture and workshop the other week called "Poetry as Visionary Resistance," which was put on by Wayne State's class: Arts as Activism. It was an amazing event that featured a band and a local Detroit poet that reminded me that poetry and words have power in society.
Poetry is often seen as some flowery or trivial extension of one's feelings, but in reality, poetry embodies a desire for change that is not seen in other fields. Poets and writers as a group, have the ability to impact an entire society by sharing ideas and thoughts that would not otherwise be shared. There are some topics that are difficult to discuss openly, but through poetry as a platform, can be talked about.
Some of the topics that were discussed in "Poetry as Visionary Resistance" included those of: police brutality, depression, stereotypes and political revolution, among many other important areas of discussion. When you are able to transform your beliefs into a form of art, you are able to reach a broader audience, that otherwise may not have listened.
Poetry does not have to be this far off thing to speculate, but not be involved in. Look around, and you will see innumerable opportunities to make a change through your language and writing. And poetry does not necessarily have to be written, it can also be spread orally.
I just attended my first open-mic through WayneSlam, a student organization that gives a platform to musicians, writers, storytellers, dancers or any other group of creators that has something to share. It is organizations like this, that allow for change to be manifested. Without creative organizations, I, among other young students, would not have the opportunity to grow, interact or simply, to share our stories and experiences.
Poetry allows for self cleansing and growth, which in turn inspires others, which can lead to a revolution. If we all stand together in our words and in our art, we will be able to weather the toughest of storms, and accomplish amazing feats.
Get involved! Find an issue or topic that you feel strongly about, and go out and tell the world how you feel.
"The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible" -- Toni Cade Bambara
The image above features a poem written by a group of strangers (myself included) during the "Poetry as Visionary Resistance" workshop, which was later performed together as a group.