Posted by: Lauren Yates | November 30, 2009

Finding my voice

For me, it’s hard not to feel like an outsider looking in. Most of the time, I experience things as if I’m watching life unfold from somewhere outside of myself. Too often, I overanalyze situations as a spectator instead of participating. But I’ve recently joined a group on campus that’s helped me transition from being a bystander to being a performer: The Excelano Project.

In addition to being Penn’s only spoken word group, the Excelano Project brings together some of the most talented, spirited, and outspoken people on campus. They say poets are different from all other people, and that’s something I’ve come to believe.

Although I’ve been in the group for almost 3 months, I’ve just now begun to call myself a poet. My decision to audition was completely spontaneous (read: out of character) for me. I’ve been writing page poetry since 7th grade, but I never imagined myself memorizing my poems and performing them.

The issue was never a fear of crowds. I was a regular at the Kelly Writers House last year, and I’ve read my work there quite a few times. In fact, I feel more comfortable sharing in front of large crowds. But my stage presence is unassuming and I never thought I could be explosive enough to be a performance poet. Most of the poets I had ever seen were really radical and yelled and swore and just seemed extremely angry. While I admired it, it kind of scared me.

Then there’s me. I’m often described as mellow, quiet, timid, withdrawn, etc. So when I first began telling people that I made Excelano, they were pretty confused. No one really knew what to expect, especially me.

As it turns out, being a compulsive spectator lends itself really well to writing poetry. The poems I wrote for the Excelano fall show, The Greatest Show on Earth, came straight from the heart and were well received. Performing in that show is definitely one of the most pivotal experiences I’ve had in this short life of mine.

Best of all, this is only the beginning.

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Responses

  1. Bravo! It takes courage to step out into the limelight but there is only one Lauren and she deserves to be noticed. Go girl! Be who God you made you to be and do it without apology.
    I look forward to hearing you perform. I am sorry I missed it last weekend (or two weekends ago).
    Rev Bev


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