On an illuminated stage at 14 years old, junior Marisol Garrido had finally found a way to transform her spoken words into a masterful display of her dreams, passions and all the emotions she had never been able to relay before. From the subtle snapping at open-mics to tireless writing sessions, Garrido has found both a safe space and a way to explore her identity through the spoken word poetry community.
Garrido first discovered spoken word at Westglades Middle School and was greatly encouraged by the Westglades drama teacher, Rachel Finley.
“She really got me into the art form,” Garrido said. “She pushed to me get involved, to get out there.”
Spoken word is a form of poetry that is meant to be performed. This form of poetry uses repetition, rhythm and improvisation to shed light on many issues involving social justice, race, politics and even personal issues. While it is mainly meant to be performed, some pieces of spoken word have been published in print.
Knowing that performance is a key part of spoken word, Garrido, during her freshman year at MSD, auditioned for a statewide competition known as Louder Than a Bomb Florida. This event was originally created in 2014 as an outlet for students in Chicago to give youth a place to express their views on the world.
“It’s cool to go to the competition and see all these different kids who also have a love of spoken word,” Garrido said.
Since 2014, Louder Than a Bomb has empowered youth across Florida to speak out. Garrido auditioned at the school level during her sophomore year in hopes of making it to the next stage of the competition. Over the course of the event, Garrido earned enough points to earn her fourth place out of hundreds of competitors.
“It’s the healthiest way I can express my feelings on things,” Garrido said. “I was not in a great place before I found spoken word.”
Even as a young girl, Garrido found it difficult to show people how she was feeling. Many of her peers had a tough time relating to her. Not only did her relationships suffer from her lack of self expression, but so did her confidence.
“Having this designated outlet where I can just speak my mind on issues and put myself out there, it’s not only cathartic, but it also helps me with speaking in everyday life,” Garrido said.
Following the events on Feb. 14, 2018, Garrido has found an even bigger voice within poetry. Instead of only speaking about her personal issues, Garrido is also able to address national and politically controversial topics.
“I have more to express now,” Garrido said. “Not just about my everyday life, but also about the people I lost.”
In collaboration with senior Sawyer Garrity, junior Andrea Peña and other members of the spoken word club, Garrido recorded an unnamed album. She also competed at Louder Than A Bomb with a piece she wrote in honor of Helena Ramsey, one of the 17 victims of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at MSD.
In her freshman year, Garrido took English teacher Stacey Lippel’s creative writing class. Before even reading one of her pieces, Lippel knew that Garrido had a passion for spoken word. On the first day of class, Lippel was sure that Garrido would excel in her course.
“She was a stand-out from the beginning,” Lippel said. “Nobody else could match up to her writing quality or her performance ability.”
Garrido would spend all night working on assignments for Lippel’s class. Her determination and work ethic even earned her the nickname “suffering artist” from Lippel. Throughout the last three years of Garrido’s high school career, Lippel has watched Garrido grow in her writing abilities.
“She has gotten a little bit more focused and more confident, not only in her writing, but also in who she is today,” Lippel said.
Spoken word has given Garrido an outlet and a safe place to express her emotions. From a shy, misunderstood pre-teen to a mature, confident young woman, Garrido is ready to let the world hear her voice.