Slam poet entertains the Turret

Two-time U.S. National Poetry Slam finalist, winner of a Los Angeles Music Award for Spoken Word Album of the year and star of Spike Lee’s Inside Man, New York’s Carlos Andrés Gómez impressed the Laurier community this past Sunday with much more than his countless achievements.

Covering issues of language, voice, education, masculinity, oppression and race, Gómez gave an eye-opening performance at the Turret as the concluding speaker of the 2010 Global Citizenship Conference at Laurier focused on “Breaking the Culture of Silence.”

From the beginning of his performance, Gomez’s energy and vibrancy let the audience know that it was not going to be a typical poetry reading.

“We’re going to do a bunch of different stuff … we’re going be moved, we’re going to be excited, hopefully offended … if I do what I’m supposed to do,” Gomez told the crowd.

Setting the tone for an open atmosphere throughout, Gómez gave a performance with a fair share of humor, sadness and inspiration.

As a former social worker in Harlem and the South Bronx as well as a public school teacher in Philadelphia and Manhattan, Gómez draws on many of this experiences as inspiration for his art. He told the audience that he is “not that creative … it’s all real life.”

Gómez’s first poem was entitled “Everything.” Undoubtedly the lightest of the performances, “Everything” is Gómez’s unique version of a love poem.

“You are a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal that won’t end and I’m four in a bright red onesie with a buttflap in the back,” his poem began.

“It’s a Saturday morning at seven o’clock sharp and Transformers is on … the TV show, followed by Fraggle Rock, followed by the Thunder Cats. You are that feeling.”

As Gómez continued, his slam poetry became increasingly more impressive.

Often targeting heavier subjects, such as gender roles and race, Gómez narrated ordinary encounters in his life, such as a high school boy asking, “What’s genocide?”, to greater social implications such as the pandemic of unawareness in North America.

Gómez’s truthful spoken word poems were an ideal conclusion to a successful weekend for the Fourth Annual Global Citizenship Conference.

This year marks Gómez’s second appearance at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“There’s something so culturally open, and just amazing…. I don’t know if it’s just all Canadians, but I’m going to attribute it to Laurier right now. I’ve had incredibly great experiences in the Laurier community,” Gómez told The Cord after his performance.

Gómez reminisced about his first performance ever in August 1999.

“I was about to be a senior, and I went into this little café … and performed a really corny, bad poem,” he joked.

Showing great improvements over the past decade, Gómez presents us with a style of art that is a rare find today.