GVSU to welcome poet Denice Frohman for spoken-word performance

By Hayley Thiele | 10/1/17 10:10pm

GVL/Mackenzie Bush - Brianna Bost performs at Oppression Out Loud Poetry Slam, presented by Eyes Wide Open, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 in Area 51.

As the semester continues, an artistic event such as a poetry reading may offer students a chance to be entertained in the midst of studying for exams, as well as an opportunity to be engaged with thought-provoking ideas. To encourage this, Grand Valley State University will host a spoken-word event featuring award-winning poet Denice Frohman.

The event, which will be held Thursday, Oct. 5, at 4 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center, will feature Frohman’s poetry, which showcases themes of identity, culture and social change. The Hispanic Heritage Celebration planning committee, along with GVSU students, is bringing Frohman to campus. The event is approved for LIB 100 and 201 classes. 

Frohman was born and raised in New York City, and it was her love of words and activism that led her into the world of poetry. While she is now based out of Philadelphia, she still uses her art as an avenue for self-expression and social change. 

Frohman approaches a diverse range of topics by weaving words together with honesty and perspective. Her master’s degree in education aids in advocating for critical thought and self-propelled inspiration for her students. 

One of Frohman’s most well-known poems, “Dear Straight People,” has garnered more than 2 million views on YouTube. Frohman’s work has been honored with many awards and has taken her on a national tour. She has performed at a wide variety of institutions, including more than 200 colleges, with GVSU officially making the list this year. 

Frohman will be welcomed in part by the Hispanic Heritage Celebration planning committee. The committee searches for events that embrace its mission to honor and support Hispanic heritage. 

“The committee is intentional in bringing awareness to the identity framework,” said Adriana Almanza, a new committee member and assistant director at the Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

Frohman, who identifies as Latina, as a member of the LGBTQ community, and as a woman, helps the committee uphold this goal. 

“In general, spoken word has a special way of interacting with students,” Almanza added. “I hope students are able to be engaged in a different way.” 

In fact, Frohman’s work has already resonated with some students on campus. 

Sara Liz Juarez, a senior at GVSU, was directly involved with inviting Frohman to perform on campus. Juarez, who has followed Frohman’s work since high school, was inspired after getting a chance to meet the poet at a convention through the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI). It is Frohman’s message and candor that appeals to Juarez.

“She makes me feel that I am not alone, that there are other people like me, and I can really relate,” Juarez said. “I hope people are inspired by her and that she helps people. Denice motivates people to use their voice to bring about positive change. She is very fun, interactive and really wise. She is such a positive person.”

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