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Spoken word poet has a lot to say

Lucas Smiraldo prepares for his â€Å"Voices of America” performance

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Lucas Smiraldo looks like your average middle-aged man with thinning hair and a pudgy mid-section, but he has a fire in him that he needs to release. His chosen form of creative expression is spoken word poetry — something he’s been doing since 2000.

He was inspired by the movie “Slam” and the words and performance of Saul Williams, which Smiraldo described as “raw and real.”

“I thought I had that inside of me,” he recalls.

Now, seven years later, he is still doing spoken word. He writes and performs his own pieces, which are social and political in nature — some of which deal with the state of the United States. He examines issues from multiple perspectives and sometimes even takes on the persona of the individual he’s writing about, whether it’s Malcom X, Colin Powell, a Tuskegee airman or the chief engineer of the Narrows Bridge. His pieces run the gamut from serious to funny to sensual.

Why do spoken-word poetry? Smiraldo’s response: “To cast a deeper light on issues that don’t get addressed except superficially by the media” such as racism and war and peace.

“We need to address so many issues that are often ignored,” he says.    

Smiraldo describes his style as “dramatic that’s driven by the issues.” He enjoys spoken-word poetry as it’s one way he connects and communicates with the community. He hopes his pieces engage audience members and provide food for thought. Another way Smiraldo reaches out to the surrounding community is through his day job as the education director at the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma.

Smiraldo is gearing up for his big show, “Voices of America,” at the BCPA May 2. It will feature a multicultural cast of eight to 10 people performing 17-18 pieces describing America both pre-9/11 and post-9/11 via spoken word and theatrical performances. Smiraldo is working with Wrick Wolff on this endeavor.

“I like performing solo, but I love doing collaborative work,” he says. Smiraldo’s CD for “Voices of America” will debut May 2 as well. He hopes to tour the show.

Smiraldo, however, is the first to admit that may be one of many far-fetched dreams he has. “I hope some of the stuff I’m throwing against the wall sticks,” he says.

One can see Smiraldo in action a couple of times a month including at Tully’s on Broadway the last Friday of every month as well as at One Heart Café’s Poetry Experience the second and fourth Fridays.

He encourages other people — young and old — to not be afraid to invest themselves in a form of creative expression. “Spoken word offers you a chance to know and speak who you are,” Smiraldo says. “I’m on a journey that is driven by spoken word but can’t be defined by it.”

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