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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Poet brings his poems to life visually through technology, rap

Author+Douglas+Kearney+breaks+down+his+creative+writing+process+for+students+so+they+can+find+inspirations+in+expressing+themselves.+Brooke+Baldwin%2FThe+Collegian
Author Douglas Kearney breaks down his creative writing process for students so they can find inspirations in expressing themselves. Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian
Author Douglas Kearney breaks down his creative writing process for students so they can find inspirations in expressing themselves. Brooke Baldwin/The Collegian

What began as an emotional poetry presentation inspired by life experiences and black history transitioned into a freestyle rap performance by a visiting speaker on NE Campus Feb. 20. 

“A huge part of black culture production historically has been an aestheticization of pain and struggle,” poet, creative writing professor and artist Douglas Kearney said.

His poem touched on subjects like racial tension and included references to hip-hop and rap music. Kearney also discussed problems affecting the black community.

Kearney presented his visual poetry and information on his craft, while also providing writing tips and advice to the room full of captivated students.

Using the Adobe software InDesign and Photoshop, he said he throws his words on top of each other, designing them to read in any way but the traditional linear, left-to-right fashion. He uses various character sizes, different fonts and patterns to format his poetry and convey the tone or impact of his words.

“It’s very cool to watch how his brain works and processes things,” NE student Stephen Bryant said. 

Kearney demonstrated the processes of creating his poems — they start as a rough draft, which he showed the scribble on a projector. 

It was also interesting to see a rough sketch from Kearney’s journal become a publication, Bryant said. 

Kearney prepared a slide show of other visual poems he has designed and written to provide insight behind his creative method. He said they are not meant to be read aloud to an audience, but rather viewed. 

“My voice would actually be a distraction,” he said. 

Some people might not understand the references Kearney makes in his writing, and he said his audience doesn’t have to know the reason behind the decisions he made in the writing. He said they should be free to interpret however they like.

“Let yourself write. Write for yourself,” Kearney said.

English department co-chair Rebecca Balcarcel said she hopes students remember that poetry is alive, and it’s much more than what is thought about in class. She said there is new and modern poetry that people can enjoy. 

Sometimes students get bored of what they think are old stories and think literature is dead, she said. But Balcarcel wants to show that there are many living, creative authors and published works they can enjoy. 

“It was amazing, and seeing the students enjoy the presentation had to be my favorite part of the presentation,” Balcarcel said.

Contributors: Muhammad Ashraf, Joanna Donjuan, Luceli Lopez, Rose Pemberton and Cale Sherrod.

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