The power of a poem

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Madison - The Centro Hispano of Dane's County celebrated the accomplishment of Latino scholars and community leaders by holding an annual dinner party on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Michael Reyes, a well-known Mexican poet who invited to become a keynote speaker shared how poetry has a power to discover our true identity and inspire the world. His combination of hip-hop and poetry create a unique blend rhythmic that elicits an enthusiastic response from the crowd. It is an awesome performance.

For centuries, Latin Americans people struggled to define their identity. Since Christopher Columbus discovered the “new world” in 1492, many people from difference nations and religions have come to visit and spread their influence. Spain strongly intervened Latino culture during the colonial period. The other European, Jews, and Moslems come later.

For me the idea of who we are is really important,” Reyes said, “I still feel connected with my history and my identity. I spent many years in Chicago and I also grew up in Michigan. My family worked in the field for many generations and we picked pumpkins everyday. 'Who we are' as a Latino is really complex.”

Reyes mixed cultural stories of resistance, hip-hop and powerful lyrics to create an inspiring poem to challenge the social ills faced by communities in America.

We are a new American dream
We are those who create love from hate,
Hope from despair, compassion from none,
And humility from arrogance
We are those who say live and help to live
We are 500 years of resistance
The audience felt the strong emotional sense every time Reyes read his poem. Many people kept giving him a standing ovation.

The way Reyes creates his poem was very unique, “We can pick the words from the universe and create together as a community,” he said. He challenged the audience to give him 15 words, and he promised to create a poem.
The audience was very excited, “ Love! Community! Dream! Familia! Education!” they kept shouting. Toward the end, Reyes got more challenging words such as : Obama, Packers, Badgers, cheese, tradition. Resistance, etc.

I try to change situation, to make love and hate come together,” Reyes said in his first lines.

Dreams higher than we ever dream before,” the emotional touching made his lyrics more powerful.

Whether the election is vote for Obama or Romney, we still have to struggle every second,” he picked “Obama” word in a very creative way.

Reyes believes the power of the poem. He also read “Plant seeds” one of his favorite poem, “Plant seeds.”
Plant the seeds to grow a canopy of change
A rainforest of hope
A flower of love
And a garden of peace

Plant the seeds so our air may be clean
So we may drink fresh sweet water

Plant the seeds to destroy imperialism and
White supremacy, global domination

Allow its branches of change to break through
The concrete and twist the steel and iron

Plant the seeds so we
Can dream of a new world

After he read the poem, once again the audience gave him a standing ovation. “I love poetry very mush. For me it's like creating possibility from nothing,” Reyes said.


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