Sapphire’s Reading: The Power of a Voice

Hello all! I hope your weekend was everything you needed it to be in order to begin a positive week filled with productivity. I wanted to take some space on our blog page to express my thoughts and opinions on the reading that took place on April 4th. Before I begin writing all of my emotions, I want to mention that Sapphire’s voice is a “prominent and well-needed one in contemporary literature” because she pushes us to look for the hard truths in a society that we often try to avoid or hide. Her work is the kind of literature that stays with you forever. With that being said, I would like to continue discussing two main takeaways that I discovered during the reading. The first relates to the writing Saphirre creates and the performance she gives when she reads her beautiful work. The second ties to a question that one of the members in the audience asked Sapphire after her reading.

As I listened to Sapphire read a couple of her poems, I became captivated by the way she spoke and the feelings she evoked within me. In the final line of the poem titled “Nagasaki Number 2,” Sapphire states that “there is no rest or forgetting, the only justice is peace”. Personally, I found this statement to be extremely powerful and true. A couple of lines before this, she literally states that male, African American balls were used for tobacco similar, to how female, Native American uteruses were also used for tobacco. This part of the poem stabbed me right in my chest. The way she stated each word with extreme passion and anger made me feel genuinely angry for how people treat other people. There is a type of rawness behind her writing that cuts right to the point.

In another poem she states, I am a person who says “hi ma’am and bye bitch”. When she says “hi ma’am,” her tone was calm and her voice was gently flowing into my ears. Then, when she exclaimed “bye bitch,” her tone was fierce and demanding. Her voice abruptly interrupted the flow before. She mixes cursing and heavy language into her writing which creates a much more impactful point. It also adds to this underlining humor she plays with throughout her writing. She intertwines extremely dark topics and humor together in a very beautiful, captivating way. She performed each piece she read that made it impossible for the audience to stray away from the power within each word she spoke.

At the end of her reading, an audience member asked her how much time she devotes to writing. She replied that “she does not have much time but it isn’t about time but more about just writing every day”. For her, the best time to write is in the morning. She acknowledges that not everyone is a morning person, some enjoy the nighttime better (I am definatley on eof those people). However, she said that she tries to catch your energy when she has it. A crucial point that she ended on is that “before she takes care of anyone else or teaches anyone else, she has to understand her own vision because nobody else has those visions but her”. I am a full believer that you cannot help or take care of anyone else until you help and take care of yourself. This follows with the statement that “you cannot love others unless you love yourself”. How are you suppose to give others a piece of yourself, (whether that be love, knowledge, etc.) if you do not take a moment to understand what is already within you?

I encourage you all to take Sapphire’s advice: try to catch your energy before it blurs in with our busy lives and take a moment to write about your visions. If anyone had the desire to read this post, please feel free to comment on any questions, thoughts, or feelings you had during my long post (I apologize, I get carried away). Anyway, thank you all and best of luck with the ending of the smester!

One thought on “Sapphire’s Reading: The Power of a Voice”

  1. Great event review, Skylar! I also love what Sapphire said about helping yourself before others (and her comparison to the oxygen mask on airplanes). The idea of “catching your energy” is useful too – I often find myself writing or editing work on my cell phone whenever I feel inspired but am not necessarily near a computer. Really glad you enjoyed the reading!

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