‘USpeak’ provides chance to share artistic expression​

Miami-based artist Jose A. Villar-Portela spoke to students and shared his poems Thursday at the second event of the “U Speak” series, a bi-monthly event held by Mangrove, the University of Miami’s undergraduate literary journal.

“My poetry is born out of the two drives to feel and to think the world anew,” Villar-Portela said. “Nowadays as poets, we can’t afford to be anything but cultural organizers and cultural participants.”

“USpeak” is an open mic series where the University of Miami community can gather to share poetry, flash fiction and short stories. Each event features a local artist who shares their work with attendees.

Villar-Portela, the event’s featured artist, is heavily involved with organizations that promote the exchange and awareness of poetry. He described USpeak as a medium to reach out to others by simultaneously reaching within.

“Poetry can no longer afford to live inside the academic box it’s lived inside of for years, it is now time to take it out of our drawers and allow it to come out of our rooms,” Villar-Portela said.

UM students also took the opportunity to recite their own original work ranging from humorous short stories to thought-provoking poetry.

“I believe in the power of the written word and there is so much that we as an audience gain from listening to the authors speak, and I think it should be continually emphasized in the society that we live in,” said Grace Slawski, a senior majoring in Latin American Studies who was the first speaker of the night.

Slawski read her poem “Walden East,” which was inspired by famous American author Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.”

According to senior Natasha Mijares, the Poetry Editor of Mangrove, USpeak provides students with an atmosphere where their voices can be heard.

“It’s a unique way to observe the social and political aura happening during any given time,” she said. “It is important to preserve our place in history.”

Mangrove will continue to host the USpeak series throughout the semester with events Oct. 18 and Nov. 1.​

For more information, visit as.miami.edu/english/creativewriting/literary-and-performance-reading-series/uspeak/.

September 26, 2014


Mateo Alvarez

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

With the University of Miami season opener closing in, the next starting quarterback has yet to be n ...

The second fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public, is over. University of Miami coach Mark R ...

1. DOLPHINS: Fins any good? 'Dress rehearsal' may tell: Opening win, then lopsided loss. W ...

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at http://www.hurricanesports.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.