We should be glad that the colloquial word is transforming literature – Washington Square News

NYU Creative Writing graduate Melica Lazada-Oliva’s novel “Dreaming of You: A Novel in Poetry” requires literature to become more of a performance.

Susan Berendz Valenzuela

Melissa Lazada-Oliva’s work and oral poetry and performance techniques in general make literature more accessible. (Illustration by Susan Barends Valenzuela staff)

Like many amazing kids growing up these days, I am has been finally online since I was 12 years old. Apart from the classic interaction with fandoms and the media, the most amazing arena to which these communities led me was the colloquial word. My favorite slam poems on youtube like it “When love comes” and “Unrequited love in 9 parts” left me with the feeling that he was seen in a way that no other media could do.

Now, among the viral poetic videos on YouTube, the clear quality of the spoken word that attracted me in the 2010s is turning into the most exciting of modern physical novels. The colloquial word opens the door to new writers and readers by changing the story and the way we think about the story.

Most recently, 2021 will graduate Melissa Lazada-Oliva, Master of Fine Arts at New York University.Dreaming of you: a novel in verse”Made me think about what this step towards a colloquial word in written literature means for contemporary fiction. I watch Lazada-Oliva’s performances with a 14-year-old boy fascinated by poetry. She became famous Button poetryvideo series and her textbook “peluda”. This success led to her later publication in well-known magazines, as well as to her residency in the podcast “Say More” with colleague, renowned Button-Poetry writer Olivia Gatwood.

I hoped that Lazada Oliva would pay tribute to the quirks promised by her novel. She did not disappoint. The novel is about a young Latin American poet who brings back to life Selena Quintanillo-Perez. Lazada Oliva, a child of Colombian and Guatemalan immigrants, writes critically about her upbringing of a Latin American girl in the United States and, in particular, about how the inconspicuous Latin American femininity of the esteemed Mexican-American singer Selena was brought to culture by Laza family and her friends. This interaction with Selena is direct and caustic, given the themes of sex, violence against women, gossip between women and a number of other aspects of Selena’s identity that Lazada-Oliva considers thoughtfully but critically.

The structure of Lazada-Oliva’s work is intricate, constantly mixing genre and form. One moment she makes a list of “characters”, and the next – the perfect script for the film. Through the page she writes a horizontal poem in two voices that can be read in five different directions. It follows that with a section of testimonies – four characters we have never seen before, represent insightful testimonies of witnesses to the revived Selena.

The reader is also often referred to directly in Lazada-Oliva’s novel, which is referred to as the “reader” and as the unidentified “you”, at certain moments replacing the beloved writer. Her prose acquires a gesture of collectivization performed by performers of the spoken word, a technique used to bring all members of the room to the same level of thought. This is also evident in an article entitled “Will We Ever Stop Crying About a Dead Star,” Lozada Oliva does just that, writing, “We say we miss them, but we don’t mean. / We mean the fall when we opened them, / when we had headphones and felt like we were / a movie. ” “We” embraces every player in the novel and outside, all united in one and represented by a beautiful performative flourishing that appeals to the reader as a person and as a channel for the team. She later writes, “I’m trying to make it universal. I’m trying to include you. “

Lazada-Oliva performed an excerpt from the novel before its publication in early fall at a creative event at New York University. Her penchant for wit and comfort with conversational vulgarity thrives when spoken, along with hand gestures, eye contact, and awareness of the feelings of the room.

The reading demonstrated how the methods of oral speech make literature accessible: works performed under the influence are written to be pronounced aloud. Slam poets rely more on easy-to-understand cadences that can be easily captured by large halls filled with audiences than traditional literature. Thus, performance-based fiction is usually easy to read, while classic literary works are often long-term and use syntax to preserve literature from lower-level readers.

Available literary works can reach a large audience of readers who will give a wide range of interpretations. Everyone can access new stories told, interrogate them and determine their accuracy. Instead of writing for a distant academic audience, we begin to write for ourselves and for each other, creating works that accumulate and live, rather than books that sit on dusty top shelves. This shift from traditional canons leads to new ways of discussing experiences that have been silenced or ignored in the past.

Lazada Oliva is not alone in this search for this new prose form. Other notable authors and examples over the past few years include Ocean Vuong’s “On Earth We Are Briefly Magnificent,” Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Poet X,” and Jason Reynolds ’“ Long Road Down. ”

Perhaps this is what we, as a literary culture, need. In an age of excessive stimulus and constant communication, the ability to create works that change with the speed with which we do is invaluable. Performance-based writing allows literature to stay with us and not allow us to turn literary stories into the past into the digital age.

“You dream: a novel in verse” can be purchased from any major book vendor.

Contact Lillian Lipold at [email protected]

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