Workshop Presenter Spotlight: Stop Being Greedy With Your Story
Matt Blesse is a spoken word poet, organizer, and educator who grew up in Truckee, CA. A member of two national poetry slam teams, Matt was the Grand Slam Champion of the city of San Francisco in 2008 and placed 3rd in 2009 at the National Poetry Slam. He has toured and taught across the United States for universities, festivals, non-profit trainings, artist collectives, juvenile justice centers, and poetry venues. However, he is currently exploring his homeland, Jeonju, South Korea, where he is a high school English teacher and a learner and a grower. He believes that art and education are at their most basic levels conversations, and in the larger sense movements. As such, he seeks to keep his craft relevant to and reflective of his experiences with oppression and transformation.
“We are a people of movements. We—the displaced, the searching, the lost, the growing, the silent, the struggling, the pissed-off, the broken, the hopeful, the healed—are constantly moving to and from homelands, away and towards our transformation, back and forth between the parts of us that long for a place where we can be whole. These movements are our truths. Our truths are our stories. In this workshop, we will utilize the art form of spoken word poetry to recall and share the stories that make up our lives with the understanding that a voice can serve as a map for others to find their way back to themselves. ”
The objective of this writing workshop series is to provide a safe space in which members of the Korean Adoptee community and their allies can explore and develop an artistic voice that is conscious of the privileges and struggles from which we speak.
When a story is shared, it is not just the speaker of that story that transforms. Our stories cannot happen without the world around us, and as such, a story’s truth does not belong to any one person. When a story is shared, it can reverberate throughout the social fabric of all of those who hold that single truth within their lives. To share oneself is to change others and community.
Matt helps organize for The ReWrite, a poetry APIA-based group in the Bay Area, and has been recorded performing at the Seattle Poetry Slam