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‘Poetic Voices’ marks celebration of black history

Stephan Starnes

Anna Marie Sprowl delivers one of her many poems to CRC students and staff at the Poetic Voices event on Feb 13.

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Students and staff trickled into the Recital Hall at Cosumnes River College to observe Black History Month through Poetic Voices, a poetry reading event held on Feb. 13 featuring three prominent and published writers whose roots are right here in Sacramento.

Emmanuel Sigauke, an English professor at CRC, organized the event for students, faculty and community members as an opportunity to celebrate African-American culture in a creative and expressive way.

“This is an honor for our Black History Month,” Sigauke said as he introduced Laura Cook, Anna Marie Sprowl and Sean King as the guest artists at this event. “Bringing them to CRC is a dream come true.”

In Sacramento, poetry events are held almost every night of the week and Sigauke wanted “to bring interesting, poetic voices to campus.”

As a preface to the guest speakers, Sigauke invited audience members to come up and share some of their own poetic work in a “mini-open mic” setting.

“I always want to involve the CRC students,” Sigauke said as he spoke to the crowd of more than 40 students and staff members, including CRC President Deborah Travis.

Alexander Stallings, a 19-year-old theater and radio broadcast major, was one of the students who shared his work at the beginning of the event.

“It gives more of an understanding of how important this is in African-American culture,” Stallings said. “It gives me inspiration.”

After students read their poetry, each guest spent about 15 minutes sharing their own work with the audience and left many members wanting more but still feeling inspired.

Each poet spoke of individual emotions, feelings and experiences.

King’s ending line in his poem about Martin Luther King Jr. was that “you cannot assassinate a spirit, you can only kill a man.” Cook advised to not “wander too long in other people’s darkness.”

Along with the historical and cultural insights, Poetic Voices also embodied emotional elements.

“Poetry is a passion,” said Alexis Senegal, a 26-year-old psychology major. “It has the ability to reach and connect and get attention, and that’s incredible.”

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‘Poetic Voices’ marks celebration of black history