Students and Writers Share Poetic Rhetoric in SMC's Poetry Reading

Santa Monica College showcased poems from students and guests in a poetry reading called Modern Poetic Permutations this Thursday, April 19 at 11:15 AM in room 165 of the Humanities and Social Sciences building. Alongside the students were the invited guests and writers Mario Padilla, Ernest Padilla, Grace Singh Smith, and Cecilia Martinez-Gil. Each speaker presented poems covering personal stories, social commentary, and even dedications to friends and family.

Minutes before the event began, the auditorium lay silent and empty, the organizers making some last minute preparations. But as the event drew closer, a large crowd of students suddenly began to enter in droves, filling the auditorium in a matter of minutes.

The first speaker to come up was Ernest Padilla, who, before reciting his poem, talked a bit about himself and the importance of poetry and literature, saying, "We need to gather together and share our hearts." He presented two poems; the first was a poem of a father giving advice his son, and the other about racism and fear in society. Many of the poems that were read at Permutations shared themes of violence, racism, and the current state of society and the people.

Up next was Mario Padilla, who started off by listing his achievements of being an SMC Professor, yoga instructor, songwriter, and an actor. He also shared a personal story of one of his students who worked hard and their struggles to become an award-winning writer. He also presented two poems, the first titled "One on One." It the desensitizing nature of violent media and the true horror of seeing actual violence. His second, "Keep the Grass Green Where He Lay," was about the life of immigrants coming to America and the story of a loved one and how America changed him.

Most of the speakers followed the same structure, but some of them were a bit more creative in their presentations.

An SMC student, Joseph Sanchez, also known by his SoundCloud handle "Angel Diamond," was called next to present his poem. His poem, titled "Dreams," was presented as a rap song. His rap was about the importance of following your dreams and the struggles that come with it. His poem frequently repeated the word "dreams" to drive his point of the importance of having those dreams.

There was also Cecila Martinez-Gil, an accomplished poet, writer and translator who presented her poems alongside Federico Ramos, a musician who helped with the production of "Coco." With Federico providing a guitar arrangement, her poems of memories carried an almost mystical vibe that kept the audience enthralled.

Overall, the event went as Padilla had said, with speakers sharing their heart through their views and memories, and some dedicating their poems to their friends and family. The speakers spoke with conviction and made sure to make every word as heartfelt as possible, making their poems leave a lasting impression on the crowd as they left the room.