On Nov. 18, the Keene State College Common Ground Multicultural Club hosted a Poetry Slam Night featuring an acclaimed New York poet Frankie Soto, who is also known by his
stage name Hidden Legacy. The event was from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Flag Room of the Young Student Center.
Proclaimed by The New York Times as a “FORCE” in American poetry, Soto won the 2016 National Award for Multicultural Poet of the Year.
Soto opened the event with an open mic opportunity for students and other audience members to read their own poetry or favorite poems written by other poets. Emphasizing the importance of students’ work, Soto said that “the student voice is just as important as mine.”
Antonio Rivera, Keene State College junior and president of the Common Ground club, kicked off the open mic section of the event with a reading of one of his original poems.
Rivera said that the event “has really great energy to support everyone and keeps the drive going for me to improve as a
writer. Hearing everyone’s work influences my future progress [as a writer].”
Rivera’s reading was followed by Brianna Hankel, a Keene State College sophomore and the vice president of Alive Poets Society, who also read some of her own poetry. Hankel remarked that she “attended the event last year, and it is a nice environment. I like the rush of seeing people appreciate your poetry. It’s very inspirational.”
After the open mic section, Soto energetically read two sets of his own poetry.
Soto said that he has “had the privilege of appearing at Keene State twice.” Interested in the poetry written by college students, Soto remarked that “I love listening to students’ work. It gets me more pumped up for my own work.”
As a poet, Soto said that his main inspiration is “to create change with every poem I write.It’s a great feeling to inspire a massive amount of people and to unify them with one poem. This year’s presidential election also made me reflect and open up on many different topics.”
To aspiring poets, Soto advised “to read as much poetry by other poets as you can.
Once you realize your voice is your outlet, you can understand creating change through your poetic voice.”
Soto regularly appears at colleges and universities such as Wheaton College and Loyola University. His most recent collection of poems, “Forever Is Not Enough,” is available on his official website hiddenlegacy.org.
Ethan Chalmers can be contacted at email@example.com