Her heart races. She feels the adrenaline coursing through her veins as the judges prepare to announce the winner of the 2021 Get Lit Slam. When the words “San Gabriel High School” flashed on her screen, she screamed with joy, seeing her and her team’s hard work paid off.
Senior Ashley Macias has always loved poetry even as a child. She would spend her recesses and lunches scribbling whatever she could think of in her journal. As Macias grew older, she joined clubs and took part in competitions, such as Poetry Out Loud (POL), that allowed her to grow as a poet.
“I have participated in the Young Aspiring Writers with Powers (YAWP) club, at SGHS all 4 years of high school, and I am now the president of YAWP,” Macias said. “I have also participated in the Get Lit competition all four years. I won the POL district and was the runner up for the LA County POL competition.”
Macias sees poetry as an art form. As a poet, she expresses her deepest emotions in various ways, allowing the audience to connect to her spoken word. One of her biggest goals, whenever performing, is providing a path for viewers to feel that they are a part of a community.
“The point of poetry is hoping to reach at least one person and make them feel less alone,” Macias said. “Poetry allows people to find comfort in the words we write just like others do the same for us. One time, after performing at the Rose Parade, people told me they related to my poem about stereotypes regarding Latinx.”
Furthermore, as much as Macias works to help others with the art of the spoken word, she also finds much comfort in it. Poetry serves as a safe space for Macias, allowing her mental well-being and confidence to be revitalized.
“I’ve developed confidence in speaking, which is continually improving my public speaking,” Macias said. “Poetry has also greatly improved my mental health in a variety of ways including giving me a creative outlet to express myself.”
As she continues her journey as a poet, Macias welcomes anyone with open arms who may want to dip their toes in poetry.
“Poetry is often seen as a feminine hobby, but poetry is not limited to women,” Macias said. “Anyone of any gender should feel welcomed to express themselves. You are in charge of what you want poetry to look like.”