Chin’s poetry will share her struggles

Spoken word artist performs tonight in UC

Spoken word artist Staceyann Chin will perform tonight in the UC-Hamilton Room

Staceyann Chin, a spoken word poet, featured on television shows such as 60 Minutes and The Oprah Winfrey Show, will perform at 7 p.m. today in the University Center’s Hamilton Room.

She will share her struggle as a Jamaican homosexual.

In Jamaica, since being homosexual is viewed as against the law, Chin left her homeland and started a new life in New York.

“When I came out I was attacked,” Chin said. “It is mostly unsafe for LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender] folks who openly identify as such. It is the reason I left and refuse to return home to live.”

Many people deal with their emotions in different ways.

Chin chooses to capture her feelings into words of poetry. Chin wrote poetry for about 14 years and has published numerous pieces of her work including her memoir, “The Other Side of Paradise.”

Chin has had essays published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Pittsburg Daily. Chin takes many inspirations from famous writers such as Emily Dickinson, Bell Hooks, Dewidge Danticat and Dorothy Allison.

“Every part of my identity, including being asian, black, immigrant, lesbian, woman, etc., has played influence in my work,” Chin said.

Chin is a member of the LGBT community in New York and is a political rights activist for the group.

“I believe it is our responsibility to try and make the world a better place,” Chin said. “Being a political rights activist for this group is how I am able to do my part.”

Chin not only writes poetry, but she presents her work for live audiences too.

“I saw poets performing in New York City at the Nuyorican Poets’ Café and caught the fever,” Chin said. “I thought it was electric, political and fearless so I tried it and rest, as they say, is history.”

Chin has performed for about 12 years, and provides great positive energy, raw emotion, and entertainment while on stage.

During her shows, Chin reads poems, segments from her memoir, and also shares other poems.

“The readings are often described as theatrical and well animated,” Chin said. “I move about, I scream, I whisper, I share moments in my life, my experiences that have made me laugh, cry and learn more about myself.”

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