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Literary Riot: A Woman’s Protest is Heard as a Car Crash

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In collaboration with Get LitGet Lit – Words Ignite unites classic and spoken word poetry to empower youth and inspire communities. By engaging youth in literature in and after school, Get Lit allows teens to become engaged in their own futures and unearth their potential. "Claim your poem, claim your life.”

"My Life Had Stood - A Loaded Gun" by Emily Dickinson

Mila Cuda
iLead North Hollywood, 16 years old
Caitlyn Bove
iLead North Hollywood, 17 years old

Why did you choose your classic poem?
MC:
We chose our classic poem because it was really cryptic and we could find our own meaning in it. It was very easy to respond to in that fashion because we could shape what we wanted the image and connection between the two poems to be.
CB: Yea! Plus, we already had the idea for “Yellow Light”. Therefore, we were just searching for a classic that matched it.
MC: Yea! There are a lot of similar themes that we discovered.

Do you guys consider yourselves poets or artists?
MC: Both because we do poetry a lot together but are also in a folk band, “Treat Yourself, Honey Bear”. I am also a photographer so I would say we have learned to cross all fields.
CB: Yes!

Is that a comfortable space for you? Do you feel like the two just blend together?
MC: I feel that all the different fields blend together really well. I feel like because of poetry, we have been able to write songs with ease. I also find that when it comes to photography, I am inspired by similar things that I am for poetry. I just observe things and I want to create art from them.
CB: I agree.

What inspired your response poem and why?
MC:
 I came up with the idea, initially. I had a few verses written for it but it was a very different poem. It was not funny at all and had really flowery language but when I told Caitlyn my idea for this poem, we decided that we wanted to make it more fun. Still, we kept some parts serious because we wanted to balance that comic relief and acknowledge that this is an actual problem.
CB: These are also two topics that I get very heated about. I hate traffic and sexual assault.

What inspires you to write poetry?
MC:
What inspires me the most is everyday life. I write a lot about my family and a lot about things that I am going through and witnessing daily. I find that when I see something that makes me really upset or sad, I want to memorize it and reflect on how it made me feel, what caused it, what effects it will have, and then write about that.
CB: I get my inspiration from similar places. Lately, I have been writing a lot about my family because I am leaving for college and there are a lot of things that seem to be coming up out of nowhere and confuse me. But also, I am surrounded by a lot of artists and poets and they inspire me to write all the time. The people I surround myself with are my inspiration, mostly.

What do you feel like you are trying to say about yourself through your poetry?
MC: I think that what we are trying to say about ourselves is that we have a voice. I want people to take away the thought that if she is speaking about how she feels in front of other people then I can do that too. I want to encourage people to speak.
CB: I agree! I want people to know that they can write poems and go up on stage and do whatever they want because often times we feel like we can’t do stuff. But, we can.

Do you feel like being able to write and perform poetry gives you strength?
MC: Absolutely! There have been many times where we have both cried doing what we do. But then, once you say those words, you are confronting an issue and you realize that you have the strength to go through it.
CB: Not to mention, I think people go through similar experiences, especially teenagers. So, if we get up and write about it, someone may feel connected to it. Then they may be inspired to write about something, and then they inspire other people. It’s just a big cycle of inspiration.
MC: The strength spreads!

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