Being able to get on stage and perform the work that you’ve written yourself can be challenging and often frightening. However, when it comes to poetry, it’s almost as if these writers were born to be on stage. Their messages come across in a way that allows people to connect with them as they discuss their culture as well as what makes them unique.

 

Javon Johnson

Johnson has a knack for being really creative with his poetry—he likes to mix comedy with a hard-hitting truth in each and every performance. His voice becomes amplified and true as he commands the room with his mesmerizing words. He uses poetry to openly talk about racism and the other injustices of the world, especially those that are faced by minorities.

 

 

Rachel Rostad

“When you name your daughter, it’s a prayer for everything you want her to be.” Rostad’s journey begins with her birth mother giving her up for adoption. She then has to figure out who she is through the different names she’s given. A lot of Rostad’s poetry talks about identity—her own self-identity as well as how Asian Americans identify in the media.

 

 

Noel Quinones

If anyone has ever told you that you’re not [insert race here] enough because you don’t speak the language, then you’ll definitely connect with this poet. Quinones is a Puerto Rican poet from New York City. Many of his poems deal with culture—how others see it from the outside looking in and how he, himself, relates to it. His poetry embodies his culture through the many inflections in his voice.

 

 

Aman Batra

This Indian-American poet isn’t afraid to talk about the complicated nature between her family, her culture, and who she is. Through Batra’s poetry, you get to learn more about how young minorities really feel about their culture. She uses her voice to discuss her family’s stories of survival and how she fits into those stories as a 21st century woman.

 

 

Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Lozada-Oliva’s comparisons will not only make you laugh, but also keep you guessing and wondering how she’ll connect it to something bigger. Reciting a poem, for her, is similar to reading a short story in which she is the main character. Her use of metaphors is almost unheard of—they’re that impressive.  

 

 

@colormagazineusa