Blog

Sarah Kay

November 25, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight

Sarah Kay Connects

Sarah Kay uses the power of spoken word to inspire creativity and self-empowerment in others. A featured speaker at the 2011 TED Conference on “The Rediscovery of Wonder”–which has been seen by over two million people on YouTube–Sarah recently performed in Regina to an enthralled audience:

Through the simplicity of her words, young poet Sarah Kay revealed a world of complexity, wonder and mystery in an intimate performance at the Regina A. Quick Center on Nov. 20.

The lights dimmed in the theatre, with a spotlight on a lone microphone stand. There was no special lighting or music – just Kay and her poetry.

This purposeful setup created an atmosphere that is not ordinary to most performances. Kay said, “I think we forget how awesome it is to spend time with other humans and share space and breath and time together.”

Poetry is a personal and vulnerable art form. Kay does not share private matters but writes her poems based on what she is figuring out and wrestling with throughout her life. She is not afraid to be vulnerable to her audience.

“Vulnerability is one of the ways that we bond with other people,” Kay said. “By sharing intimacy and sharing vulnerability that’s how we connect with others.”

With a genuine smile, Kay invited the audience to dive into her world through her experiences and stories. Attentively listening, audience members became connected to her on a deep, personal level.

“She’s the best friend you never met. It’s an inherent connection I feel that she can make with anybody and literally being this close to someone who has been able to penetrate your emotions through a computer screen and now face-to-face is more nerve-racking than a first date,” Lauren O’Donnell ’15 said.

A spoken word poet is expressive not only through words, but also through rhythm and movement. Kay moved on stage as if she were dancing to a song. Every motion was fluid and deliberate.

Sallyanne Ryan, a communication professor at Fairfield, said: “Sarah Kay is quite eloquent in her use of language and movement to tell stories. I think her spoken word poetry is quite powerful.”

Audience members felt especially moved by Kay’s storytelling and her thought-provoking words that ignited creativity.

Junior Victoria Kan-Long said, “At this point, this has been my best experience at Fairfield so far.”

Kay is not only a performer, but she is also an educator. Through her organization, Project VOICE, she conducts workshops all over the world to encourage and inspire young people to engage with spoken word poetry. She also taught two workshops on Thursdays to high school students from Cathedral Academy and Fairfield students. Her style of educating is focused more on working on what students already know, rather than teaching them what they do not know.

 Although many may find writing poetry daunting, Kay tries to present poetry – both in her performance and writing – as a universally accessible art form. Interacting closely with her audience made her performance not only entertaining, but also genuine.

Although many may find writing poetry daunting, Kay tries to present poetry – both in her performance and writing – as a universally accessible art form. Interacting closely with her audience made her performance not only entertaining, but also genuine.

By Astrid Quinones/The Fairfield Mirror