UPC hosts international spoken word artist at GUC Feb. 28

International spoken word artist Gabriela Garcia Medina performs at the UNA GUC performance center Feb. 28.

A crowd of students gathered slowly but surely on the night of Feb. 28 to hear international spoken word artist Gabriela Garcia Medina in the GUC performance center.

After students were asked to move toward the front of the cavernous performance center, Medina put down a book, emerged from the audience and took the stage.

The audience was anticipating slam poetry: a competitive style of writing that requires a large amount of audience participation and typically judging of some sort.

However, what Medina delivered was much more informal and natural.

In fact, her writing delved into many of her insecurities.

“It gets sad sometimes,” she said. “We’re full of all this shit that we don’t talk about, so I compiled this collection of deep, dark secrets.”

Her words took on a Latin rhythm as she launched into her first poem of the night.

Medina’s poetry explored a range of subjects, including her family history, self-empowerment and reflection on herself as a poet.

She was met with a warm reception by the audience.

“As an artist, I have the ability to read my audience,” said Medina. “I can tell when I’m having trouble grabbing the audience. Tonight, I felt like this was an attentive audience—it felt like I almost needed to slow down to honor the attentiveness.”

Students responded positively to the performance.

“This type of poetry was different, but not constrained by the rules,” said UNA junior Jonathan Watts. “I liked that she attacked every poem without fear and wasn’t afraid to say what she felt.”

Sophomore Mack Cornwell was positively surprised.

“I think at times, I’ve been exposed to some bad poetry, and I don’t want to waste my time on it,” he said. “But every now and then I realize that poetry has its place in the art world.

“I thought Gabriela was very inspiring, and I felt that she seemed truly vulnerable. The transparency that she had spoke to me. I didn’t find it vain at all, but genuine instead.”

Some students said they enjoyed how unique Medina’s writing is.

“Her writing is very unique and interesting,” said UNA sophomore Kaitlin Chappell. “It reached out to a different aspect of the student body.”

For some students, Medina was their first experience with a slam poet.

“She was amazing,” said UNA junior Atticus Wright. “This was the first time I saw a spoken word poet. I was impressed.”

UNA junior Shelby Fink, a member of the University Program Council, which invited Medina, said Medina had everything UPC wanted in a guest performance.

“We wanted to bring her in not only because she brings a lot of culture,” she said. “She can also pull together diversity and reality, and she was the perfect person to bring to campus.”