Poet Rajiv Rebello shares verses at the two-day Loud Voices Quiet Spaces performance. Rebello said he counts on poetry to help him navigate life. Photo by Promise Yee
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Poets of all ages take to Oceanside stages

OCEANSIDE — It is National Poetry Month and two days of spoken word poetry brought dozens of locals to the stages of the Civic Center and Mission Branch Library on April 5 and April 6.

“It’s a set roster of hand-picked poets,” Rolland Tizuela, organizer of the event and Glassless Minds poets group, said.

Poets ranged from teens to seasoned writers, who hone their craft with Glassless Minds, Glassless Minds youth group and Poets Rule Hippies.

Poets shared their passion, humor and personal stories through their poems.

“There are veterans who will talk about the war, reflections (on) growing up, comedies, prose about everyday struggles,” Tizuela said. “It’s a sampler of performances and writings.”

The performance at the Civic Center Library on April 5 was geared toward an adult audience.

The performance at the Mission Branch Library on April 6 was geared toward children and families. It also helped celebrate the reopening of the library after renovations.

Unique to the performance, poets talked about what prompted them to write and perform.

Jeremy Maloy of Oceanside has been writing poetry for two years and performing for two months.

He said he was looking for a family to share and develop his poetry with. When he heard Glassless Minds perform he was prompted to take the stage.

“I should be up there,” Maloy recalled thinking.

Rajiv Rebello of Mira Mesa, said he counted on writing and reading poetry as a teenager to help him navigate life.

“All I had was a pen and a book,” Rebello said. “I said, ‘Robert Frost, you got me,’ ‘Tupac, you got me.’”

Rebello said performing poetry gives him a voice and connection.

Tizuela said he began writing poetry as a form of self-expression, and evolved to performing his poetry on stage.

“I really wrote for myself, to heal myself,” Tizuela said. “Once I got control of the verse I thought of it as a mission. If you need to hear it, other people need to hear it.”

He self-published a book of poetry with fellow poets titled “Glassless Minds” in 2009, and began the poetry group of the same name the following year.

“We all needed the camaraderie of other artists,” Tizuela said. “We all wanted and created an outlet.”

Tizuela organized the Glassless Minds poetry group with fellow poet Joe Limer. The group is based in Oceanside and takes to the stage of the Brooks Theatre every second and fourth Thursday to share poetry.

Thursday performances are held as poetry open mic events.

Tizuela said open mic nights began with a few poets and small audience, now the event is often standing room only.

Tizuela is called on to perform at different venues about once a week and frequently headlines the show as the lead poet.

He also formed the Glassless Minds youth group.

Tizuela, Limer and fellow poets mentor teens to recognize and express their voices through poetry.

Limer takes the lead in getting students to write and “unleash the beast.”

Tizuela coaches students on performance, command of volume and emotional mapping on stage.

Tizuela said it is rewarding to witness youth develop their confidence as performers.

“They’re writing about some pretty heavy issues,” Tizuela said. “They’re sharing some heavy, intimate parts of their life, and gaining control over the things they’re writing about. They’re slaying the dragon.”

An important component of performing, for both novice and experienced poets, is the audience’s response. It provides feedback and encourages performers to push their poetry further.

Tizuela said positive shout-outs during performances are welcome.

“When the audience is receptive and vibing the artwork, the exchange is very, very awesome.”