Interview with Moira Pirsch- Engaged English Scholar for the Month of February

Click the following link to watch Moira's spoken word:

http://english.cla.umn.edu/engagement/


Would you like to talk a little bit about your spoken word piece?

I wrote the "If I were in Charge" poem as a result of a writing prompt I was given in high school. I use it often when I am working with young people because it promotes agency and values individual voice in a world that is so easy to become lost in.

How long have you been doing spoken word? Why did you start?

I started writing poetry when I was really young (since before I can remember), and began performing poetry when I was 15 years old, after a group of poets from California came to my high school. I went to the workshop they were holding sort of by accident and at the end of the workshop, a leader came up to me and said "You're gonna share your piece right?" and I did. I was nervous, shaking, and almost crying, but I did. And if you had told me then, that I would have performed in front of a thousand people and traveled across the country to do spoken word by the time I was 21, I would have never believed you.

Describe one or two of the organizations/student groups in which you are involved. What is your inspiration for getting involved with this organization/ student group?

When I moved to MN from Madison, WI, I knew I wanted to continue working with spoken word and with youth. I knew of the MN Spoken Word Association because they had visited Madison a few times. I almost immediately sought them out and began my work as a Youth Programs Intern, working mainly with the youth slam series "Quest for the Voice." Now, almost 4 years later, I can say I have learned an invaluable amount of skills as a poet, teacher, organizer and leader from the director and artistic director Shá Cage and eg Bailey.

I also work with the student organization Voices Merging. This year I became the president of the student organization and am so proud to be a part of this group. Every 2nd and 4th Monday, Voices Merging hosts open mics in Moos Tower. When I became a member, we had 50 or so people in attendance at each event. Now, we have over 400 diverse students and community members who come every other week to share their stories and talents and to appreciate one another.


How has your involvement changed your University experience? What have you gained from such experiences?

When I first came to the U, I was in classes I didn't want to be in, I was having trouble finding people with similar interests as me and was too shy to really break the mold of what advisers and professors were telling me. Once I became involved in the community and student organizations, and did HECUA's Writing for Social Change Program, I gained a sense of confidence and agency I hadn't had before. I began taking classes that I wanted to learn from (not just ones that would help my major), taking all the opportunities that presented themselves (Including the Community Engagement Scholars Program, National Student Exchange, and UROP) and I don't think I would have been so intentional, had I not learned from my community and student involvement.

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This page contains a single entry by clay0114 published on February 17, 2010 1:00 PM.

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