Poetry Reading Night at ELAC

By Maria Marroquin

Inspiring 11-year-old poet, Violeta Tabilla joined East Los Angeles College Writers Society club’s open mic night last Friday at Tonali Studio.

Obed Silva, host of the event, promoted “East Side Rose”, the 1st edition of ELAC’s literary magazine. In addition to pieces written by ELAC’s current and past students as well as some professors, the magazine contains work from members of the East LA community such as the work of 11-year-old Violeta M. Tabilla-Esquivel, better known as ‘ La Poeta Violeta’.

This young poet attended the event and captivated the audience with her poem “I Fake a Smile,” a bilingual poem about immigration and the impact deportation has on families that go through it.

“Every time she comes up, she always makes me feel good about the future,” said Silva after Violeta’s recital. In attendance were current students and ex alumni from ELAC, family members and people from the community.

Many of the people in attendance  recited poems that represented their experiences, as well as intimate details of their lives.

Such is the case of Miguel Velasquez who recited “Who Am I?” a poem about his life as a divorced dad and being present for his kids despite the adversity.

Velasquez said he didn’t think anyone expected his poem because they don’t know anything about him but, he feels like being a part of the club has given him a platform to express himself and talk about things he wouldn’t otherwise.

“That’s why I joined the club, because by writing, sharing and being transparent, it makes me more passionate about what I do and who I am,” he said.

Tonali Studio is owned by Rosanna Esparza Ahrens, a known member of the community.

Esparza said she is glad to host these types of events at her studio.

“The more art from the community comes in the better, we try to make art accessible to the community and the more people come in the better,” she said.

President of Writers Society, Christopher Barba also recited a poem in Spanish called “No Soy de Ti.”

After the event, he said although the space was filled with people when he was reciting he didn’t feel awkward being in front of the people in attendance. “There is a familiarity with the audience, it’s intimate,” he said.

“I think these events get people engaged with one another and everyone has a different aspect to telling stories and everyone can relate to it in their own experience. It can bring more people together because they can find a common ground,” said Barba about how these events make him feel.

Silva closed the night by explaining how the mission of “East Side Rose” magazine is to be more inclusive, not only for students to be more involved with the arts, literature and creativity but also to get the community more involved.

Then he read the introduction of ESR and commended audience to submit their work for the opportunity to be published in next year’s edition.

After the event, Silva said, “the magazine is being used by some English professors and it will continue to be used.”

He says he wants students to feel inspired to write and find a way to express her emotions. “They allow safe spaces for voices and that’s what we want to do with Writers Society and East Side Rose.”

He also said the next edition will be printed with a bigger font for easy reading.

Silva said the club is planning to have a Literary Day next year and invite family members of students to see the campus and inspire their children to attend school and get involved.

The Club meets Thursdays at E3-307 from 5 to 6 p.m.

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