While evening descended on the university, a poetry event held by the Sonoma State’s Associated Student Productions commenced in Ives 101.
Mayda Del Valle, a poet from the South Chicago area, put on a recital fueled by her Puerto Rican soul on Sept. 18 for students and faculty.
Del Valle stepped up to the microphone that evening and mentioned her background. She spoke with confidence and really brought out character on stage.
Del Valle’s poetry was a mix of urban dialect with Latina spice entwined in a list of lines that flow in either a slow conversation-speaking voice or a rap-style rant.
In her first piece she demonstrated the latter by speaking in a fast rap of “tongue tactics” that seem like an entire run-on sentence of perfectly enunciated words.
She spoke Spanish when she quoted people such as her mother or someone mentioned in the poem, but despite the language change the poetry still flowed like any beat would.
Del Valle attributed a lot of her inspiration coming from her very own mother. She grew up Catholic as the youngest in the family. A lot of her pieces were about her mother and what it was like growing up in a strict household.
“Salida” which means “exit,” was one in particular in which she reminisced about their relationship and how it has grown and changed over time.
There were more “hip” verses in other pieces that talk about being young in the city of Chicago, rolling around the town with hip-hop beats blasting from the speakers.
Starting and finishing with a melodious tune for the first and last few lines, the words built imagery of urban elements talking about sneakers, skateboards, spray cans, cheap liquor and the crews out in the streets.
It’s a piece full of excitement and enthusiasm which the Chicago-native has a lot of. It then faded like a song and the tone of voice seemed to go from being there in the moment to a nostalgic tone.
“Maybe the reason we young people feel we own everything is because it’s the only time that we think we do,” said Del Valle in a line from the piece that summed it all up.
Del Valle never ceased to entertain the crowd. She had written one piece about a breakup and told in detail the stages of crying one goes through for the next days after the breakup, displaying them herself.
Her stage presence was in the sort that a good stand-up comedian would have.
It captured the audience and by the end of the show one would feel as if they had known her all their life.
The poem was spoken in a strong sincere voice that was the kind of poem that perhaps more guys should here.
She had another piece about particular boyfriends she had, all of which were involved in the hip-hop scene. It was more of a song than a poem. It had a chorus and verses for the spray-artist, the DJ and the MC.
The poem about her grandmother was a beautiful piece which put out an ancestral reverence.
It’s a piece where she put music to using words like mix, sample, rhythm, drum, beat, remix just to describe the way she felt.
Her last piece about her mother’s cooking closed out describing the strong nature of her mother and put the listener right in the kitchen right there keeping her natural Latina dialect in the words.
What Del Valle does with poetry is a beautiful fusion of music and words that make every piece a song of its own and always memorable to the listener.