California Baptist University welcomed poet, author, speaker, workshop host and self-proclaimed creative Arielle Estoria on Jan. 25 for a slam poetry workshop at the Community Life Lounge.
Estoria was born and raised in Northern California and graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She now resides in Pasadena, Calif. Estoria entered the world of Slam Poetry in 2012 and has since spoken at other universities such as Azusa Pacific, University of California Los Angeles and Biola University.
Coming to CBU for the workshop, Estoria had one mission.
“At the end of the day, I want people to be seen, and I want my poetry to be a space where they can be seen,” Estoria said.
Participants of the workshop were each given a small notebook, a pen and directions to write whatever came to their minds for approximately seven minutes. This exercise was designed to relax the group and clear students’ minds of any potential creative blocks. After this, the surprises kept jumping out of each of Estoria’s instructions.
Students were instructed to write passages beginning with one line pulled from a book as inspiration, from Haikus or from personal guides of how certain colors were connected to their lives. They were even told to stare face-to-face with another person for eight minutes.
“I feel like I’m ready to go home and write,” said Kimberly Gledhill, senior sociology major.
Gledhill said she came to the workshop expecting prompts and tedious counting of syllables but left the workshop surprised by her refreshed perspective on poetry.
“Poetry is a very underrated form of expression of art and of emotion. It’s cathartic,” Gledhill said. “It can be used as a tool for healing and recovery.”
Throughout the workshop, Estoria exposed the similarities between therapy and writing poetry by encouraging the workshoppers to express their feelings. The workshop supplied Danielle Monzon, freshman biomedical engineering major, with poetic coping mechanisms for everyday life.
“I thought I was going to come hear people talk about their poems, (but I learned) no matter where I’m going, I have to face whatever I’m going through,” Monzon said.
Estoria came to the CBU campus not having done a poetry slam workshop with university students, but her ongoing mission remained unchanged.
Community Life hosts events similar to Estoria’s workshop, and students are encouraged to participate and not miss the next opportunity to get a little unconventional.