Arts and Culture

Roxy Azari returns to Wheaton for Spoken Word performance

Roxy Azari, a Wheaton college alum and founder of iSpeak, performed at the Lyon’s Den as the last event of Middle East Week on April 8. Azari is an Iranian-American poet, performer, writer and educator raised in New York City. During her time at Wheaton, she was able to create iSpeak and land the new club a performance in Weber Theatre within four years of its founding.

Three iSpeak performers opened the night with a poem of their choosing. “My depression hates it when her paws are touched,” read Caroline Dyhrberg ’19, a poem initially written about her dog and later changed the subject to depression. Nataja Flood ’16 and Caleigh Grogan ’18 also read pieces.

Most of Azari’s work discusses her family and social justice issues prominent in Iran and uses language as a tool for social change. Some of the topics discussed in her poetry dealt with the 2009 Iranian voting protests, beauty standards and the degradation of women in both Iran and the United States as well as ex-lovers and masculine vulnerability. “I want a famous face,” read Azari, “Let it be generic so that I can give diseases to my children later in life.”

In receiving a 2010 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, Azari facilitated poetry performance workshops in the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia. She has also given several international performances in places such as Morocco and India.

Azari further discussed the work she completed through fellowship during mulls and breaks between the reading of her poetry. Her Watson allowed her to explore the multi-faceted tendencies of perspective and how this affects our understanding of reality. In this, Azari hopes to bring out the storytelling aspects of poetry in her work.

“Freedom is not a person you can kill,” she read.