City Tech’s 33rd annual Literary Arts Festival was…different. When I first arrived to the festival, I was surprised to see that there was a bunch of people in attendance. I wasn’t expecting to see so many people there, especially being that I myself haven’t heard about the festival before it being announced in class.
The festival began with an introduction video taken by students of City Tech. The students introduced a woman by the name of Caroline Hellman, who is one of the Literature professors that helped put together the festival and commended her for her work and dedication. The night continued with literary and musical performances from City Tech alumni, including Rafeal Molina who graduated from City Tech in 2010, special guests including a poet by the name of Cornelius Eady (and his band), City Tech staff, and many others.
During the Literary Arts Festival there were some performances that stood out to me. There was a poem from a City Tech student by the name of Latoya Scarboro that I loved. The title of the poem is “Where I’m From.” I enjoyed this poem because it was personal. Latoya spoke about her journey through life. When she was younger she grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After her mother passed away she ended up moving to Flatbush, Brooklyn. As a student of City Tech, she struggled with the battles of having two sons. One with autism and the other with Sickle Cell disease. This touched me because at the end of her poem she said that these obstacles have pushed her and motivates her to finish school and get her Bachelors degree. I don’t even know Latoya, and I was proud of her. I know the struggle of dealing with family members with Sickle Cell disease. I also know what it’s like to deal with an individual with Autism. Neither one of these diseases are easy to deal with. College itself is not easy to deal with, and yet Latoya continues to push herself to finish college.
The next performance that I enjoyed was the performance by Cornelius Eady and his band. I enjoyed his poems because they were more like the poems you would here at a poetry slam or a paint and poetry event. You can paint an image in your head while listening to Cornelius’s poems. When Cornelius spoke, the audience was silent.
Cornelius Eady performed poems with and without his band. One of the poems he recited that I enjoyed was named “Aretha Franklin’s Hat at the Inauguration.” I enjoyed this poem because it was comical in some ways with the references to Aretha’s hat to a “church hat” and “testimony hat.” These words put the image of my grandmother and all her friends in my head. These older women wear the craziest looking hats to church and some how think that the hats are attractive. I also enjoyed this poem because the poem itself was not only about Aretha Franklin’s hat at the Inauguration of President Obama, but the poem was basically all about Aretha and her music. The poems that Cornelius performed with his band were entertaining and unique, I have never heard poetry like that before.
I also learned about Cornelius Eady himself during the Literary Arts Festival. I learned that Mr. Eady published 7 volumes of poetry called Hard Headed Weather. Ealy also created a non for profit organization for African American poets.
If I had to sit through another Literary Arts Festival I would do it again. Even though it wasn’t completely what I expected it to be, it was worth my time. I’m glad to see that the students and staff of City Tech can come together and do something positive for the school and the community.