By Macy Pope, Class of 2022
One of the biggest events of the year hosted by the Marymount University graduate Humanities Department is the Bisson Humanities lecture. The hallmark event brings all different types of students, faculty, and Arlington community members together for an evening to celebrate literature, language, history, art, and free thought.
The speaker of this year’s lecture was none other than the “Lady Gaga of spoken word,” poet Regie Cabico. A queer Filipino writer and performer, Cabico recited his poetry about mangos for his mother, his relationship with diabetes, his dating history, and his place in “the American Dream deffered,” as he refers to it. The life stories and quippy humor were a fresh reminder of the life that literature and stories hold in today’s society. He spoke quite a bit on the “orientalizing” of asian actors in America, but also what his fluid identity means to himself and how to it can impact others. One of his most popular poems, “I’ll Check Other” speaks to the division that he and other Asian-Americans feel as their identity has been restricted only to their native ethnicity, much like only being able to check one box on a full page. My personal favorite part of the evening was during the “conversation” portion, where after being asked a question about his worst performance, he proclaimed “Well, I don’t suck, ever.”
I believe Cabico brought a total new light to what modern humanities can be. In a university environment where my non-humanity major friends poke fun at me for loving dusty old books and the philosophies of dead white men, this outspoken queer poet has shed a new light onto what the present and future of the humanities will be. It is full of diversity, inclusion, and performance. It is not just for the majors and minors of what some may call expired knowledge— it is for all people to appreciate and enjoy.
Cabico also gave two spoken word workshops as part of his engagement with MU, allowing students to take an active role as spoken word creators.