Sarah Kay and Spoken Word Poetry

Cathy Zielske in her recent blog said it right, The Internet is Amazing. Without the Internet, I never would have heard of Sarah Kay. She is a young woman who travels to different schools performing and teaching open word poetry. She also writes plays/musicals and shoots documentaries.

I want to be her. She’s someone I could have been. Watch:


Isn’t she something? She co-heads Project VOICE with her friend Phil Kaye (you also have to watch their video “An Origin Story”), they envision to use Spoken Word to entertain, educate, and inspire. In this short talk, she certainly accomplished all three for me.

Once upon a time, I wrote poems. I was a fairly good writer. I tried short story writing too. Until now I still believe that, given time and the proper environment, I can still be a good writer. Or a poet. And I loved performing on stage. I may have been good too. So Spoken Word Poetry? It could totally have been my thing. Had I known there was such a thing.

What’s more important though is that I totally get how Spoken Word Poetry could be what many young people need. I’ve never had problems speaking out or finding ways to get myself heard. But I know it isn’t true for all young people. I hope they reach more audiences, even Filipino kids, and create opportunities for them too to engage with their environment, with the world. And this medium can be totally taken to the streets. Oh how fun and amazing that would be.

What inspires me from this talk isn’t the idea that I could be doing what she does, but the understanding that it’s not too late to be whatever that I want to be. Or whatever I wanted to be. The three steps she mentioned in her speech? Totally applicable to anything you want to do, not just being in Spoken Word.

First step: I Can.

It begins with the realization that I can do something. Or even that I am onto something magical and it is worth my time, and some people may be interested in what I can do.

Second step: I will.

Commitment. Willing to continue, to do it over and over until you find your voice. Until you find what makes something truly yours, or until you put your own stamp onto that something that you do.

Third step: Put all the things that you know so far into what you do.

This, Sarah says, is the step that never ends. And I realize that this is true not just for creative pursuits, but for anything that we do really. So I could decide that I could be the best boss, the best OM at work. It means having to put all my past experiences and all that I know into what I have to do at work. I can totally see how what I know about blogging or my experiences in theater could help me take my team to success.

When I hear about young women like Sarah Kay who are sharing their talents to the world, and helping change the world, I am overwhelmed with a feeling that I had my chance and didn’t take it. But I can’t reconcile that feeling with my conviction that I don’t regret any of the choices I have made in my life. So seeing this quote has recently given me hope –



It’s never too late to be who you might have been – George Eliot.

No, it is not too late for me. Thanks to Sarah’s three steps, I can still make things happen.

After all, local actor Richard Yap, popularly known as his characters Papa Chen and Sir Chief rose to fame at 44!