On Friday November 4, 2016, The Writer’s Place had it’s 6th annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration. The event was hosted by one UMKC professor Xanath Caraza.
The event was beautifully decorated with Altars and paintings that contributed to the festive atmosphere.
The celebration started with an introduction by Caraza, followed by a dance performed by the Calpulli Iskali dancers. The dance was gracefully done and moving to watch.
The highlight of the celebration were the readings by poets Sophia Rivera, Vanessa Reynaga, Karineh Mahdessian, and Monique Gabrielle Salazar. Each speaker read poems that not only related to the event, but also to their own personal experiences.
Rivera’s most memorable moment included her poem Por Abuela. A poem she wrote for her grandmother whom she had lost.
“All men are assholes,” Rivera read from her poem, recalling advice that her grandmother gave her.
Reynaga wowed everyone with her continuous switching from Spanish to English in her first poem.
Mahdessian’s poetry included the audience in her performance because she had two untitled poems. She asked the audience to help her come up with a name for them, if they were inspired.
Salazar was the liveliest poet. Her poems came from a book she recently published. She spoke with passionate, bold, and vibrant words receiving great audience reactions.
In between poetry readings, music was provided by the Hide in the Shadows band. The group gave the celebration plenty of upbeat, interesting tunes throughout the night.
The event brought a sense of understanding of what the Dia de los Muertos celebration is all about. Everything from the dancing, music, and poetry reading made those in attendance feel involved in the celebration.