Campus Life

Shihan stuns audience with slam poetry

Slam poet Shihan amazed his audience in the Student Center Ballroom on Nov. 10 with his amazingly real and shocking poems.
The only lights in the Student Center Ballroom were a string of white Christmas lights hanging on the black backdrop of the stage along with dim lights directed toward the stage. A single microphone on a stand and a red stool sat on the stage, ready for Shihan to begin using his words to empower everyone in the room.
Shihan gave a short biography about himself before he began his presentation. He said he had been a full time poet since 1997, and has a wife and two children. He opened up the floor to any questions throughout his reading and encouraged the audience to ask any question they felt that they needed to ask.
He slapped his hands together and let his powerful voice take over. Lyrics like, “real superheroes hold on to every word,” and “even though we’re not all poets, we all bleed the same,” were in his first poem.
After the first poem reading was complete, audience members began what they thought was proper poetry reading etiquette, snapping their fingers instead of clapping. Shihan laughed at this sight, and explained to the audience that people began “snapping” instead of clapping when poetry readings were held in people’s homes.
“Clapping would disturb the neighbors, and they would complain against the people who were holding the poetry readings in their homes, therefore snapping at poetry readings was born,” Shihan said.
After a few more poems were read, an audience member who attended Shihan’s last poetry reading at UCA raised her hand and requested the poem, “Love Like.” Shihan told the audience member that he would read it at the end of the presentation.
Shihan kept the audience engaged by saying, “By the time this is over, you’ll know a bunch of stuff about my life and I won’t know anything about you.” Laughter filled the ballroom.
He told the crowd that art of any kind is dependent on someone to like it after an audience member requested one of his more popular poems, “Father’s Day.”
Shihan explained to the audience that he volunteers at the Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, where he lives. He said that one of his poems that he had written was from an assignment he had given his “juvie” kids. The poem entitled “Wings,” opened with, “I’m struggling to carry the weight of these words.”
After being prompted with the question, “How long does it normally take for you to write poems?” the artist responded with, “It varies, it could be a couple of hours to six months. It can take me a day to memorize some of my poetry, and some poems I just can’t memorize.”
Shihan said he got inspirations through music by Michael Jackson, Fiona Apple, The Eels and Prince, but he found more inspiration from what he saw and read when he first started on the poetry scene. Now that he has grown older, Shihan said he finds inspiration in his family and friends.
Senior Rachel Linck said she came to the event because of the emotional inspiration that Shihan conveys.
“I saw a spoken word event in Fayetteville and I thought it would be good to see someone this good and famous,” Linck said.
Junior Stephen Grady said he was was excited to see Shihan.
“I saw him on the HBO Def Poetry Jam and really liked him. ‘Father’s Day’ is my favorite poem by him,” Grady said.

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