April 2, 2020

Students perform poems about seeing humanity at the Student Bazaar

On Feb. 24, students Caleb Broeker and Larry Hearn each presented original poetry to attendees at the Loretto-Hilton Center. The theme of the pieces revolved around the idea of seeing humanity. 

The Student Bazaar was held on Feb. 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., right before the official start of the fifth annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference. At the event, artists highlighted the theme of seeing humanity through their work.

Two students at the event, Caleb Broeker and Larry Hearn, explored this theme through poetry. Broeker performed two original works, and Hearn also performed a piece.

Broeker began the poetry readings with a piece they referred to as “Focus.” In the poem, Broeker examined how LGBTQIA individuals are seen by others and represented in the media.

“It is no coincidence the first gay character in a Disney movie groveled at the feet of a straight man,” Broeker said while reading their poem. “That’s where they like to see us.”

Broeker was referring to the 2017 remake of  “Beauty and the Beast.” They noted that some of the marketing for the movie focused on LGBTQIA representation, but they felt as though the movie stereotyped LGBTQIA individuals rather offering real representation.

“In the piece, I talk about queer representation in media and how little we’re represented even though we inspire and really create a lot of the media culture that is present today,” Broeker said.

When writing the poem, Broeker explained they also drew from personal experience. The beginning of the poem highlighted the attention Broeker has received for their physical appearance.

“As a person who is visibly queer I get a lot of looks,” Broeker said. “They’re not always bad, but I always sort of turn heads. The first line of the piece is ‘I’ve only ever known how to turn heads.’”

Caleb Broeker performs their poem “Focus” at the Student Bazaar. Photo by Cas Waigand.

“Veil” was Broeker’s second piece. The poem highlighted the insecurities Broeker has faced when it comes to being visibly queer.

“It’s something I do because I love it, but there is still a nervousness and a fear and an unsureness even if outwardly it comes across as flamboyant and confident,” Broeker said.

Larry Hearn also performed an original poem at the event. For his piece, Hearn wanted to take a unique and personal approach to the idea of seeing humanity.

The piece took a metaphorical look at this theme. Hearn said he wanted to leave much of the meaning up to the listeners’ interpretations.

“The poem is about to make you think, maybe make you want to do,” Hearn said in his poem. “Either way you interpret it, I promise it’s for you.”

Along with leaving the meaning of the poem up to interpretation, Hearn also explained that he wanted the audience to feel as though the poem was personal. To do this, he tried to make his language as focused as possible. Rather than using words like “we” or “us”, he used the word “you.”

“‘But no, we’re starting with you as humans and discovering what that means’ so taking more of a personal approach when writing this poem,” Hearn said. “That’s more of the feeling that I wanted the audience to get like ‘wow it sounds like he’s talking to me.’”

When writing the poem, Hearn considered what David Clewell, who was his poetry professor, would think of the piece. Hearn said it took him around two days to write the poem, even though it normally takes him less than an hour. In the end, Hearn wanted his poem to show just how much he had learned from Clewell.

“I imagine he’s smiling looking at it right now. Looking at what he’s taught us, or taught me more personally, hasn’t gone in vain,” Hearn said.

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