In Memoriam of Dr. Maya Angelou

ArtEdgeNYC honors Dr. Maya Angelou who was an activist, artist, poet, author, and national treasure. Dr. Angelou believed in giving and in her life she gave us many works which moved and encouraged people across the world. Her contribution to the writing sector and the arts is insurmountable. May we be comforted by her words, which were full of grace and strength.

Below is a video from the 1993 presidential inauguration of President Bill Clinton where she read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning”, only the second poet in history to be invited to speak at a presidential inauguration.

 

Courtesy: William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Asia Calcagno, Poet: Verbal Empowerment and Activism

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“As a writer I find that it is my job to be constantly inspired by everything from the desk I am sitting at to the injustices in our world. I am constantly searching for new topics to write about, but my writing usually involves topics of race, class, and gender because these identities are so personal to me. Nevertheless I am always delving into new and bold topics because as a poet, I do not believe in silence, so I turn my writing and performances into a form of verbal empowerment and activism.

My journey as a poet/performer started when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school and I won an in-class poetry slam. I have been writing nonstop. Through endless amounts of mentor-ship and having been affiliated with Young Chicago Authors back in my hometown, many doors and opportunities have opened up for me. I’ve competed twice in the largest youth poetry slam in the world, Louder Than A Bomb Festival and through that I was able to be a part of the Illinois All-Start Team for Brave New Voices. I’ve had the opportunity to perform at venues such as The Black Women’s Exposition and The Taste of Chicago. This past summer I, along with three other empowering women, traveled to London for almost two weeks to teach and perform. In London we performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall and were guest performers in the Shake The Dust Festival. While abroad I was honored to do a set at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. I feel so blessed to have started writing and performing at a young age and to be able to make so many lasting connections with other artists.

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Though I started off as a “slam-poet” I’m now an extremely versatile poet. I wear many hats when it comes to writing. Here at Connecticut College I major in English with a concentration in poetry so I write for the page and play around with the craft but I can definitely switch up the style and compete in slam easily. I would say that after 7 years of writing and performing I found myself wanting to give back and teach the craft to youth so I do a lot of workshops with middle school and high school students. I also am vice president /rising president of my college’s spoken word club RefleXion.”

People can get in touch with me via email acalcagn@conncoll.edu.

You can read my poetry on my blog here http://asiaclaire.wordpress.com/

A recent performance of mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wsQe4dqPzA