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Elizabeth Acevedo is a spoken word artist from New York City who has performed at multiple venues, most notably the Madison Square Garden. Credit: Courtesy of OUAB

National poets set to slam at Ohio State

Thursday night, the Ohio Union is set to showcase word welders and alphabet architects alike.

Three professionals in the national slam poetry scene — Oveous, Lacey Roop and Elizabeth Acevedo — along with three Ohio State students, are set to perform some of their pieces.  

Upon seeing poets at a conference, Sofia Barcos, visual and fine arts committee chair for Ohio Union Activities Board, was inspired to bring poets to OSU, as the organization had not brought such an event to campus in recent times.  

“Art is a process, or the means by which we can explore our world. This event is a representation of that,” Barcos said. “Students can come to this event as an escape from classes to enjoy an artistic experience unlike many others.”

Spoken-word poet Oveous said his voice could be described as “sophisticated street poetry with an academic flair.” With a commitment to keeping his late brother’s gift of lyricism alive, he said he was able to turn his brother’s suicide into a message of hope.

Oveous said he and his brother were exposed to the art of lyricism through the poetic verses of hip-hop they heard while growing up in The Bronx.

“(My poems) convey a message of overcoming internal struggles to keep going day after day, the good times and the bad times,” Oveous said. “What I do is kind of what a stand-up comedian does — storytelling — but through hip hop and poetry.”

The dreadlocked, tattooed and pierced Lacey Roop, who identifies as genderqueer, said her politically charged poems do not surprise people, given her appearance. She advocates for female empowerment and marginalized voices, covering topics of gender and sexuality in her pieces.

Roop first experienced slam poetry in a coffee shop while studying for a college exam. Now, at age 29, she is the author of a full-length book of poetry, “And Then Came The Flood.”

“(Poetry) has taught me the miracle of a story,” Roop said. “How a story has a life of its own and how marveling that is to share and witness.”

Poet Elizabeth Acevedo said she writes poetry to bring what she sees as unheard voices to light.

“My poems affirm that we are powerful,” Acevedo said. “That diverse stories and experiences are important to read and learn about — that black lives matter. That history matters.”

After 12 years of performing on national and international stages, including venues like Madison Square Garden, Acevedo said she still believes performing at universities is both a challenge and an honor.

“I’m also inducting (students) into a subculture of poetry, snapping, hollering and responding verbally and visibly to a performance,” she said.

The event is on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the Ohio Union Performance Hall. Tickets are free, with two offered per BuckID and available at the Ohio Union Information Desk. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Editor’s note Sept. 1: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Lacey Roop and Elizabeth Acevedo’s hometowns.

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