REVIEWS: When Speaking to an Extraterrestrial

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Slam or spoken word poetry is poetry that is meant to performed. It favors theatricality, connection to the audience, bold personal or political themes, and is intended to provoke a deep and unsettling emotional reaction. The poems of Maya Williams, seen and heard Friday at Fringe Central? Check, check, check, and check. A seasoned slam poet, Maya Williams delivers the goods with a performance that is at once mature and youthful, brave and frightened, angry and forgiving, wrenching and funny. That is a very good trick. Race, mental illness, family- heavy stuff is heavy stuff, and she shies away from none of it, keeping the audience with her. This is Fringe. Really awesome Fringe. Get out there and see it.

— MARK SHAUGHNESSY, PortFringe 2019 Review Team

Maya Williams spoken word poetry is experienced like lighting. It is all at once awe inspiring, and intimidating. As an audience to their presence, there were times to hear and be heard, to hold space and to be held in it, and to sit tightly in necessary discomfort as Maya spoke about their own experiences, and gave an intimate voice to the broader experiences of marginalized people. Maya’s voice, words, and presence were like a lantern- brightly illuminating the necessity for radical softness and honesty. All the while reminding you to breathe. A lot like just trying to get through a day.

–MACKENZIE BARTLETT, PortFringe 2019 Review Team