¡PALABRA PA’LANTE!: Artivism and the Transformative Power of the Written and Spoken Word



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Carol Becker (1994) states that “Art is often a kind of dreaming the world into being, a transmutation of thought into material reality, and an affirmation that the physical world begins in the incorporeal-in ideas....Humans [have the ability] to anticipate what [they could] create. Art is the great anticipator.” According to this statement, art has the power to create, destroy, resist, and reform in an imaginative realm. It has the ability to be manifested in reality and to affect that reality. As a poet I strongly agree with this concept, believing that art in any of its forms can be used as a tool to promote social change by provoking thought and action. This to me, is Artivism. This project uses Artivism as a foundation to examine the qualities of written and performance poetry that are felt and not seen. It argues that poetry is inherently activist because of several factors it possesses including ritual, healing, and community building. With a focus on poetry coming out of the Black Arts Movement and the Nuyorican Movement, this senior thesis taps into the socio-historical contexts of people of the African Diaspora and how, through poetry, they have inscribed themselves into history and into public consciousness. Furthermore, my work seeks out how their poetry has confronted systems of oppression created to marginalize and control them.



artivism, poetry, Africana studies, performance