Students gathered at the College Terrace for an evening of poetry by award-winning spoken word artist Lacey Roop on Sunday, April 8.
Roop performed numerous pieces of her work with topics ranging from personal stories to politics to sexuality. She stood up in front of the audience dressed in all black with blonde dreadlocks flowing down her back.
Roop read mostly from memory and incorporated ambient sounds, hand clapping, stomping and other hand movements into her performance.
Her powerful poetry and slight Southern accent pounded the room as she enunciated each word into the microphone. She read two of her most well-known works, titled “Dear Rick Perry” and “Shark Boy.”
Roop began writing slam poetry while she was a business major in college. One day, she was studying for a macroeconomics exam in a coffee shop during an open mic night. She found herself fascinated by the bravery of performers, who stood up in front of the crowd and read their personal stories.
She was inspired and started writing her own poetry. Soon enough, Roop performed at that same coffee shop and received several compliments.
Roop informed the audience that the majority of her poetry is inspired by experiences in her home state of Mississippi.
“My writing is a collection of moments and memories — that’s what we are made of,” Roop said.
Between her readings, Roop would tell some stories, including ones about her childhood and her wife.
After some of Roop’s readings, the audience was unsure if they should clap, snap their fingers or laugh. Roop announced that she accepts all reactions.
Amalia Velazquez, a fourth-year early childhood education major, attended the event because of her love for slam poetry. Her favorite reading of Roop’s was about bees because “it focused more on bees, existence and what it means to be a person.”
Students reacted positively to Roop’s poetry and wanted to hear more. Nicole Santa Maria, a second-year criminology major, is part of the Student Association’s (SA) Union Programming Council that helped organize the Roop event.
Santa Maria explained how the council attends the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) conferences each year to find performers, diverse speakers and events to do on campus.
“We found out about Lacey Roop at the NACA conference and wanted her to perform here badly,” Santa Maria said.
Santa Maria’s favorite part of Roop’s performance was the stories about her wife, a psychologist who works with young children.
Roop also read some poems from her published manuscript titled, “And Then Came The Flood.” The story behind the name comes from a time when she continuously had an imagery of water.
A few years ago, she came home from an event, called Queer Bomb, to find her washing machine had flooded. That’s when she knew what to title her collection.
Roop had three points of advice to aspiring writers: read everything because there’s so much to read and be inspired by; be receptive to criticism and know your own intentions.
“You have to read the things you don’t like to figure out what you do like,” Roop said. “Your inspirations are endless.”