Those who perform spoken word poetry say they often draw their inspiration from what they know and what they’ve personally experienced.
That’s the case for junior journalism and political science major Resita Cox, the president of EROT Poetry, a spoken word collective at UNC.
“My day-to-day experiences are, I guess, a big part of the reason why I write — but also, more so over the span of my life, things that have happened to me,” said Cox, a former staff writer for The Daily Tar Heel. “So a lot of my poetry speaks to my childhood, how I was raised, the things that I’ve watched my parents go through.”
While she has been using writing as a way to express herself since middle school, she didn’t find the platform of spoken poetry until college.
“We write about what we’ve been through and what we can talk about and how we can speak to others through our experiences.”
Sometimes she writes poems with a topic in mind, especially if she’s writing to fit an EROT performance’s specific theme. The most recent EROT Poetry slam’s theme was sex, and the poets focused on sex issues that aren’t often talked about — sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence and sex trafficking.
“As you become more versed and as you become more experienced as a poet, you kind of open up and it becomes easier to talk about really hard things,” Cox said.