The power of poetry: Annie Agutu

The power of poetry: Annie Agutu

Annie Agutu

Staff Writer

aaagutu@goshen.edu

Annie Agutu, first-year, raises her hand to the audience during her spring Kick Off performance

Annie Agutu, first-year, raises her hand to the audience during her spring Kick Off performance

I am more than just a poet. I am a storyteller. I am a creator, and, most significantly, I am an artist. Words have always come naturally to me, and lately their meanings have developed into stories embedded in my mind, with vivid images of people and their lives. I found it hard later on to write only stories, and so I was introduced to poetry. That then became the only way for me to communicate with the rest of the world. It was the only way I could talk about pressing issues and not be judged. I spent most of my childhood trying to find words that could rhyme. Looking back, I realize that the only thing I was trying to find was myself. I had to find this rhythm and rhyme to find an identity that was only beginning to form.

What this exemplified to me is how vulnerable we are in the face of a powerful story. Everything began to change when I started to write more about the way I felt and the way I thought other people felt too—stories of real people and their struggles. I spent less time on superficial things like love and pain—which are important things—however I chose a path of activism and more community engagement with my writing. I then went through a complete mental change in the perception of my writing, and started to perform slam poetry.

I started slam poetry about a year ago and had not performed in front large crowds of people until last summer. This form of poetry helped me write about more pressing issues in society such as racism, rape, gender-based violence and injustices in society. Slam poetry has allowed me to express my emotion not only through words but also through the movement of the body to help demonstrate certain feelings: pain, happiness, rage, anger, love and resentment.

I put in a lot of work in preparation for my performances and try my best to incorporate the concept of “the power of words.” However, I perform as an opportunity to empower and humanize the authority that words hold. When I perform, I slip into a world where all my emotions mean something, where they are tangible, and I actually feel the “lyrics” to my unsung song, where I really understand how I feel and am certain about what I want to deliver to the audience.

Poetry has become a creative outlet for me, and I am very grateful to be able to share my work and the work of others with everyone. I am looking forward to bigger and better performances in the near future.

 

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