Spoken Word Poet Gives Impactful Performance at Drew

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by Willy Nichter, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, January 31, spoken word poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva read a variety of her poems to an attentive audience of Drew students.

Lozada-Oliva, a graduate student living in Brooklyn, used writing as a way to, among other things, process her anxiety. She got involved with performance poetry in 2013, saying, “What I loved about [performance poetry] was a way of storytelling, and the constraint of it.”

She recently published her first collection of poems, “Peluda”, which “explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more,” according to the book’s blurb on Button Poetry.

The event, sponsored by the University Program Board, encountered some slight difficulties when it had to be relocated from the Space to the Tolley Brown Lounge, but the seats were still packed despite the last minute change.

“I just wanted to see what it was all about and just be exposed to it, I guess,” said William Dejianney (‘21).

The event began with a reading from student poet Leanza Rodriguez, who performed her poem “Same Mistake” to the applause of the crowd. Following that, Lozada-Oliva herself took the stage and began reading.

The event was a relaxed affair, with Lozada-Oliva not only reciting poems from memory and from her collection, but also sharing stories about her personal life, reading brief works directly from her iPhone, and even going over some of the dreams from her dream journal.

Among the poems she read were “Ode to Brown Girls with Bangs”, “AKA What Would Jessica Jones Do” and “Taking a Pregnancy Test at the MOMA,” all of which were recited with great skill.

“I’m just trying to carve a place for myself in this world and I would like other people to do the same,” she said of her writing goals.


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