Activist’s poetry inspires

Jared Paul came to Puget Sound on Friday, March 8 and shared his poetry with the Loggers in attendance through engaging narratives and bold storytelling.

Paul is an artist, activist, anti-capitalist, musician and former caseworker. From one glance, Paul may not seem like a loud-spoken radical, but once he’s on stage there’s no denying his passion for activism.

“Radical means to get to the truth; to get to the root,” he explained. Paul used to wonder about whether the time and effort he spent fighting for socialism was just making a big deal out of nothing, but whenever someone is reluctant to listen to him he thinks about all the exploitation exported from America.

He thinks about the outsourced labor that America imposes on foreign workers for barely just compensation; the looming amount of illegal arrests of American citizens all in the name of “safety” or “security;” and the growing corporations that continue to feed off the liberties and wages of the public to further their business.

Paul says when he thinks of all of those reasons, he can’t forget about his cause. For that purpose he goes on stage, loud and unfiltered, willing to lay out the bare truth for his audience.

“My tongue’s been sharpened,” he remarked in one of his poems, even though “sometimes we’re not ready for it to get that real.”

Paul also emphasized the importance of storytelling as a central way to convey messages from person to person.

“Poems and stories have been one of our best means of communication and expression for thousands of years,” he said.

Throughout the night, Paul shared his own stories of advocacy, traveling, bicycling, love and protesting. His poems were creative interpretations of his life in Rhode Island and abroad as he journeyed across America fighting for fairness and accountability.

“We rode out like patriots: unapologetic, unbowed and unbroken,” he described.

Puget Sound alumna Aliyah Simcoff was dumbfounded by the performance.

“Bringing Jared Paul was amazing,” she said. She appreciated having his honest perspective shared at Puget Sound because a “liberal arts education only goes so far when you limit the voices that are here.”

One of the tips that Paul gave to his audience about telling an honest story was “not to be nervous and anxious” because performing is the time when artists finally get to share what they love.

“There are fewer and fewer instances when we’re gathered here in a room [without technology],” he said. So finding moments to connect with a vibrant audience is rare and should be used to the fullest.

“It was very powerful, and eloquently worded,” Robert Boyle, a student, said.

Members of the audience were captivated as Paul brought his hard-hitting performance to a close. One of the lessons Paul emphasized was that “everyone is an artist.” It doesn’t matter in what form of expression the artistry comes out, whether it’s poetry, music, dance or anything else. Paul summarized that all one has to do is prepare, practice and share.

“This moment is all that remains in the empire of yesterday,” Paul stated in one of his poems. Students are encouraged to seize the moment, take a risk and share what needs to be heard.

For more information on Jared Paul, visit his website jaredpaul.org, or check out his band Prayers for Atheists. He will be on tour until April for those interested in seeing him perform again.