By Noah Mitchell
Carlos Andrés Gómez came all the way from New York to perform some of his popular works of poetry for select Skyline students during 5th and 6th period in the library.
“My primary medium is poetry, but a lot of my life is just going out and interacting with people performing stuff that i’ve written,” Gómez said, in an interview just before his May 9 presentation.
Gómez is an award-winning poet as well as a speaker, actor, author, and a writer. While being most known for his viral poems, which have millions of views on YouTube, he has also co-starred in Spike Lee’s Inside Man with Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen, and appeared on shows such as HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and TV One’s Verses and Flow.
“The most exciting thing I’ve ever done [in poetry] is I got to read a poem I wrote for my sister and I performed it for her for the first time at this festival in Berlin. It was a really really special poem about her struggles with dyslexia, and I had a really hard time learning how to read. It was a singular moment in my life to be in this room with her, and to gift her this poem that she didn’t know existed, in front of all these people in this really exciting moment of my life is my best highlight,” he said.
When it came to giving students advice on how to become a poet and write compelling poetry, Gómez commented, “When I think about a poem I think about, ‘What is nobody talking about? What’s the most urgent thing you are grappling with?’ And that’s where you should start when it comes to your process. Things that make you scared, unmoored, or disoriented. That’s a good place to start in your creative processes because there’s a lot of electricity there and those are the stories we need to tell.”
“I’m here to do some poems and then I’m going to chop it up with students,” added Gómez. One of the students he talked to after his performance was sophomore Eleanor Wikstrom. “I thought [his performance] was really good. I’ve seen one of his performances when I was in middle school, so I wasn’t really sure if he was going to do the same material or different. He did one of the same poems, but of course it was still good two years later. I like the content, I feel it is really relevant considering that a lot of things that are happening in today’s political climate and social climate. So it was nice to hear him tell his stories.”
Mr. Bloomfield, the school librarian who helped organize the visit, also got to talk about his experience hearing Gómez’ poems. “This is the second time that Carlos has come to speak to students here at Skyline and both times he’s shown himself to be an absolute professional. He captivates the room quite easily while being able to work with our weird Wednesday bell schedule, and it seems as though kids walk away from his presentations excited about poetry in a way that really you can only get if you’re seeing it live from the poet himself. He has excellent delivery and writes about things kids are interested in and I really hope he comes back next year.”
“Two years ago when he came, kids came up to me after and said, ‘Hey can we get him to speak at our graduation.’ Unfortunately, like now, it was in May that he came to speak, so it wasn’t enough time for him to be able to do that. However, he does speak at graduations, so for future students reading this article right now let me know if you are interested and I’ll contact him earlier in the school year,” commented Bloomfield.
You can visit his website @http://www.carloslive.com for more information on Carlos, his poetry, social media, and his performances including times and locations.