Visiting poet inspires audience
October 25, 2017 The Signal page 21
By Nadir Roberts Staff Writer
The Library auditorium was packed on Thursday, Oct. 19, with dozens of poets, listeners and supporters of INK’s Visiting Writers Series. This time the poet was Danez Smith, who provided a vivacious performance and captivated his audience. Smith’s multitude of awards and accomplishments make him an astounding poet and author. In 2014, Smith won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, in addition to being a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, and three-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Individual Champion. Smith also has two poetry chapbooks, and two books entitled “[Insert] Boy” and “Don’t Call Us Dead.” From the very moment Smith stepped foot on the stage, he had the crowd involved and excited. When asked how Smith always conjured up his excitement to perform, he said that being a comedian was his dream job and that his appreciation for stand-up leads to his outgoing and happy nature. “The more energy y’all give, the more the performer does,” Smith said. Smith discovered his love for poetry and spoken word his freshman year of high school through a theater assignment. Since then he has been writing poetry and performing. “My blood is in cahoots with the law but today I can say I’m alive,” said Smith in one of his pieces. Smith’s poetry for the night revolved
around the topics of his personal life, problems in black America and his sexuality. Isiah Sams, a sophomore philosophy major, who listened to Smith for the first time Thursday night, was astonished by his work. “He was amazing,” Sams said. He was glad he came to see Smith. “I wasn’t expecting this type of performance — it was mind blowing.”
“Because there is no Amber Alert for amberskinned girls! Because our heroes always end up shot or shootin’ up!”
—Danez Smith Award-winning poet
As an aspiring poet, Sams liked that Smith incorporated his personal experiences into his poetry and writing. “It sets him apart,” Sams said. Smith’s performance provided a fun, light-hearted time, but also carried a rather serious tone. Smith was able to capitalize on many prevalent issues not addressed regularly about racism in America, and his experiences as a queer black male. With titles like “Genesissy,” “Alternate Heaven for Black Boys” and “Dinosaurs in the Hood,” his
pieces sent a strong message to the audience. Throughout the night, many snaps were heard but his poem, “Dear White America,” seemed to resonate most with the audience. “Because there is no Amber Alert for the amber-kinned girls! Because our heroes always end up shot or shootin’ up!” Smith shouted. Toward the end of Smith’s set, he opened up a Q&A session and offered critical advice for upcoming poets and writers. “You have to write what scares you,” Smith said. In addition, Smith suggested that students take a theater class, seek mentorship and most importantly read. Before Smith took hold of the crowd, the night kicked off with two performers from the College. The 2017 spring and fall “Slam Down The Walls” poetry slam champions, Kendel Stiles, a junior political science major, and Kristen Cefaloni, a mathematics and secondary education dual major, shared their own pieces and captivated the crowd. Cefaloni had the opportunity to be an opening act for Smith, and said she was “blown away” by his performance. As co-publicist, Cefaloni loves what INK has been able to do, both personally and for the community. INK has been able to spread the love of literature to the campus community. “It’s nice to sit down with creative writers,” Cefaloni said. The event was for poets and nonpoets alike. “It’s great for people who aren’t English majors but enjoy poetry and writing,” Cefaloni added.
King inspires another haunting film Farmer conspires to murder wife in ‘1922’
This week, WTSR Assistant Music Director EJ Paras highlights some of the best new music that the College’s own radio station, 91.3 FM WTSR, puts into its weekly rotation.
Band Name: Camp Cope Album Title: “Camp Cope” Release Number: 1st Hailing From: Melbourne, Australia Genre: Indie Folk Rock Label: Run For Cover What started as a solo project that turned into a three-piece, Camp Cope is the offspring of Georgia Maq’s insightful musings. Her witty, biting and emotional observations of the world around her result in very genuine lyrics that are amplified by her booming voice. All of these components are complemented beautifully by Kelly-Dawn Helmrich’s melodic basslines, the underrated MVP of this band. Run For Cover’s latest addition will take the indie circuits by storm very soon. Must Hear: “Done” and “Flesh and Electricity”
Left: James’ actions lead to his demise. Right: Family members betray each other in ‘1922.’ By Nicole Zamlout Staff Writer Guilt is often depicted as nature’s way of punishment when one does something wrong. It is not swift like human law, it’s slow and cautious. It lulls you into a false sense of security before snapping in the most devastating ways. This is exactly what happens in the new Netflix original “1922.” Based on the novella by Stephen King, this haunting film follows a farmer in 1922 who allows his dark side to come out against his conniving wife, and who must suffer the consequences afterward. The story explores the ways in which guilt functions. It does not simply fester in you, but it infects everything around you. It pollutes you until
it rots away, or until something comes sniffing to chew up the corpse. The storytelling in this film was simply phenomenal. Though the premise seems simple, the director made sure the audience questioned if the macabre events of the film really happened, or if they were simply the guilt exacting its purpose. It makes you realize that guilt can do something so elaborate in order to force you to atone. The acting helped drive this point home, with Thomas Jane’s performance as the main character, Wilfred James, outshining the rest. His fear and slow deterioration alongside that of his farm really intensifies the haunting tone. Fear and anticipation were not brought on with cheap jump scares, which are found in many
films. In this movie, the horror did not stem from anything waiting around the corner, but from something that has taken roots in your mind, your home and everything you love. The musical score and use of disjointed noises and sound effects helped add to horror. The noise helped keep the audience on edge, making one wonder what fresh hell would come next. Its lack of sound also helped make the scene even more unsettling because the pauses of silence made it appear as if something were about to pop out and begin to feast. Not only did this work as a horror movie, it worked as a terrifying example of the power of the human mind. Throughout the film, James faces his own slow descent into hell.
However, he isn’t dragged there by otherworldly demons. He is taken there by the creaks in the house, the feeling of being watched, the horrible turn of luck and of course, the rats. The rats, slowly creeping closer and closer, crawling and chewing on everything in sight. Such simple household pests slowly drove him out of his mind. He would run as far as he could, only for them to swarm and take what was left. This idea of something so simple being the driving force of the horror is a strange idea. But it worked well. All in all, this is definitely a film you should save to your Netflix queue for this Halloween. But I’d advise setting up a few mouse traps first. Never know what sins they may come to chew on.
Band Name: Leif Erikson Album Title: “Leif Erikson” Release Number: 1st Hailing From: London Genre: Alternative Rock Label: Arts & Crafts Showing maturity beyond its years, this London five-piece plays some tight, introspective rock ‘n’ roll, strongly influenced by Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs. Meaningful lyrics, varied chord progressions and hazy guitar solos equal Leif Erikson. My favorite excerpt from their promoter co-sign: “They’re only still at the foot of their career, but like their explorer namesake, Leif Erikson are what happens when you find yourself, however you get there, right where you are supposed to be.” Must Hear: “Get Free,” “Real Stuff” and “Looking for Signs”
The 10/25/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper