Cuban born poet Gabriela Garcia returned to La Verne to offer a spoken word performance Sunday in Morgan Auditorium.
Garcia, a UCLA graduate, has a variety of passions in art including poetry and music. She even opened for the Black Eyed Peas in 2006.
“I hope my words from times of struggle will inspire at least one person,” Garcia said.
Her performance was composed of poetry expressing her eclectic background that varies from protesting on Cesar Chavez Boulevard for civil rights, to not knowing how to cook, to an unhealthy relationship from her past.
She held nothing back as she shared her stories with the audience.
“I find people open up to me more when I’m raw, “ Garcia said.
The audience was attentive and reactive to her words that were translated from English to Spanish.
The audience laughed with her, yelled in agreement with a point she brought up, and snapped their fingers to show appreciation for her work.
Garcia was able to rile the audience up with mentions of food, body image, and the pain of heartbreak. She spent time with many people before and after the show, when audience members asked questions and complimented her.
“Putting yourself out there is tough,” political science major David Asbra said.
Garcia embraces her Cuban culture in her poetry and the close relationships within her family.
She tries to connect with young females when bringing up body image, emotions of heartbreak, and female empowerment. She takes pride in being a strong woman by acknowledging poor upbringing, family support, and experiences that led to her present career as a poet.
“I enjoy spoken word a lot. I really liked Gabriela’s feminist view and how she expresses the role of women in society,” senior Spanish major Cynthia Latham said.
Her performance was followed by questions and comments. She was asked where her favorite place was to hear poetry, and she said it was in Pomona.
She performed one poem that she said was very personal, and that it was not until recently that she felt comfortable sharing it.
She said she was advised by a friend to go somewhere where no one would recognize her to recite it.
She did so and a woman from the crowd approached her, and told her she connected to her painful poem.
From then on it has been the hardest poem she has done, but she does it so others in abusive relationships have the strength to talk about it.
She quickly shifted gears and put an entertaining light on a stalker she had in 2006 who wrote her an 11-page letter, and assumed she would become his wife.
Out of sympathy, she wrote him back and tried to let him know there would be no future between them. He was angered and has left her alone since.
When asked about slam poetry, and how it may be similar to her experience she said slam poetry was not something she dabbled in because she “can’t put a sore on my heart.”
Monique Millan can be reached at email@example.com.