City Times

‘Life and Times of the Black Woman’

Megan Rose Bartell

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“People need to understand … poetry is a fire element,” said Stacy Dyson, performance poet, playwright and a cappella vocalist. Dyson performed “The Life and Times of the Black Woman” at the Saville Theatre on Wednesday, Feb. 9, as part of a world cultures event in celebration of black history month.

The performance began with an introduction by Katie Rodda, director of the World Cultures program.

Dyson started by telling the audience of 84 students that she likes to begin with a song. She told the audience she likes to do “You pick it, I play it.”

Dyson gave the audience several styles of music she sings and gave the crowd 30 seconds to come to complete and total agreement of the song style she would sing. The audience yelled out jazz and blues, but could not come to agreement. Dyson then belted out a rhythm and blues song.

The first poem read, “Woman 724365” was a catalog-style description of the strength of all women. The number in the title stands for seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“For me the performance was really, really good, the power that she uses, the energy that she transmits to the audience is excellent. The poem I enjoyed the most was woman 724365. It was excellent. I hope some guys can understand that that’s her code. We’re women, we have to get together and step it up,” said student Daysi Baeza.

Dyson went on to read several more poems throughout her interactive performance, before ending on a serious note. The last poem, “Lorenia’s Song” was introduced as a poem that she had been banned from performing in the past. It was the story of a woman trying to escape from an abusive relationship and succeeding in her attempt.

“The last poem on abuse was very powerful and it’s a good thing to leave a guy when they’re abusing you. It just harms you mentally, physically. Once you leave you become stronger and learn from your mistakes,” said student Juanita Lopez.

After the performance Dyson answered the questions of a swarm of students.

“As long as I’m doing my job I’m having a good time,” said Dyson.

Dyson has been reading performance poetry for over 30 years and was first published in 1980. For more information about Dyson and her work, visit her website: www.saintwinterraines.webs.com

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‘Life and Times of the Black Woman’