Voices Poetry Group celebrates first decade

Photo courtesy of FAMU Voices Poetry Group Facebook page.

Voices Poetry Group will be celebrating a decade of expressive art, creative poetry, and original content through spoken truths and original performances with an anniversary event Thursday to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

The Google definition of the word poetry is “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.” That characterization is the most general way to explain what Voices Poetry Group has represented over the last decade to the Florida A&M community.

VPG historian and political science major Jamal Carty said Voices was founded by two FAMU students who created the group based on a love of spoken word and the lack of a poetic presence on campus.

“Voices was founded Oct. 2nd, 2009 by McQuisha Smith and Jaslyn Adams. From what I’ve picked up on, they connected through a love of poetry and spoken word at the esteemed Nefertari’s, not too far from FAMU’s campus, where they began to form a communal bond around their love for the art. So, in turn they brought it back to campus forming an organization for the poets here on campus to come and join in hopes of finding that same kind of community experience,” Carty said.

Jordan Roberts, a third-year environmental science student and a prominent member of Voices, said if you take her social media following into account, she loves the bond and energy that has been consistent over the last three years. She says the group revolves around four foundations of “love, unity, art and poetry.”

“I love how we use the art of poetry to not only bring people together but also keep the bond within the organization strong,” she said. “Our motto says we speak, vibe and uplift and that’s exactly what we do. I love my organization and I’m so blessed to be a part of it.”

Carty said having the platform to speak and the freedom to speak on that platform is what he favors most.

“Being able to speak my truth and bear my emotions is something I cherish, and Voices gave me a platform to do so. They provided me with a huge support system when I was at my lowest and encouraged me to express myself without filter,” Carty said.

“Also, the inclusive nature of Voices. How accepting of a space it is, how people come from all different walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, etc. to form a community around a love for the art of poetry and performance. I can never thank Voices enough for what it has done for me in its uplifting nature. Voices was the catalyst to finding out that my entire life, no matter what I have identified as I am in every sense of the word; a poet,” Carty added.

Some of the events set to take place center around the decade celebration are the popups that took place at FAMU’s Starbucks and in the orange room on campus.

Nyah Williams, a criminal justice major who serves as the secretary for VPG, loves the connection she’s gained from Voices and what being a part of this anniversary means to her.

“I feel accomplished because I put so much time and effort into my poetry and into this poetry group since I’ve joined; we all have, and it’s been amazing to share this moment with the other members,” said Williams. “Voices is family. It’s home to the misfits. It introduced me to a lot of genuine lifelong friends.”

According to Williams, the event will be a “compilation of all of our big shows. Like Stroke My Mind, Tellavision, and Kill ‘Em With Poetry.”

The 10-year anniversary for Voices will be celebrated at 6 p.m. Thursday in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication’s second-floor gallery.