Castro re-defines the poetry "performance"

By Rob O’Donnell
Staff Writer

Since typically we seem to focus on the meaning of text, we seldom recognize the beauty in the sound of a poem.

Adrian Castro, a well-known poet from Miami, visited the University Tuesday, April 10 to give a special performance in Bucknell Hall sponsored by the Stadler Center for Poetry.

Castro’s poems range in substance and influence from African to Caribbean tradition, and the sound of the poetry reflects that.

At some parts he sang individually in a captivating voice, and at others he even incorporated the audience into the performance by having them sing back. It was remarkable to hear such distinct poetry performed.

That was what separated this reading from others that I have attended; it was truly a performance. If I had just been reading the poem from a book, I would have missed so much. I would have missed the sound of the poetry, which is the true driving force behind his work. He places a strong emphasis on rhythm, and it almost turns into a melody at some parts.

Even though I was there for the reading, I still feel like I missed a lot of the poems’ meanings. He used a lot of different languages throughout, oftentimes using a refrain in the West African or Caribbean tradition, and he used a lot of Spanish words, none of which I could understand. But what I lacked in meaning and clarity, I gained in beauty of voice and sound.

I am incredibly grateful to the Stadler Center for Poetry for bringing him to the University, as the performance of the reading was fantastic. I believe that this may have been the last reading for the year, but I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of events like this in the future.

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