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Alum to host poetry workshops during Odyssey

Annie Wu

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Kevin Kantor ’10 will return to Stevenson to hold writing and performance workshops at Odyssey where he hopes to empower students to experiment with poetry as a means of expression. Kantor is widely known for his involvement in performance poetry in which he explores a diverse range of experiences from trauma to young adulthood. Since his time at Stevenson, Kantor has founded a student-run theater company, SOAPbox Productions, dedicated to creating socially relevant and engaging performances.


Q: What was your highschool experience like at Stevenson? Has any of it influenced what you’re doing now?

A: I had a very sordid experience in high school. For me, it was a transition period. Because Stevenson’s such a large community, I was able to find my niche and have a support system. I have a lot of experiences from then to write about in my poems.   


Q: What do you hope students will get out of your workshops at Odyssey?

A: I’ll be doing both writing and performance workshops. It’s not just for writing and performing students. Even if a student never picked up a pen for a poem, everyone has experimented some time or another with writing, and I hope that they find spoken word poetry may be something they can experiment more with.

 

Q: I know you’re not just a poet, you’re also an actor and director. Can you tell me about your involvement in those?

I created SOAPbox Productions, which is both a theater and poetry slam company because I found that I wanted to create more opportunities for more diverse backgrounds. My leadership mentality as the artistic director was “lead with the goal to empower others to lead and feel empowered in their own right.” The company is run through University of Northern Colorado, which is where I graduated from, so other students are running it now. It’s wonderful to see it grow.

 

Q: You’ve been getting quite a bit of attention from your “People You May Know” poem. Was it written in one long sitting or was it a culmination of lots and lots of revisions?

A: The actual end product has been edited and went through a few revisions. After the incident actually happened, I immediately sat down and wrote. It was my biological reaction to just go and write. How can I put what I just went through down on paper? What’s really empowering about spoken word poetry is that it lets the writer to declare themselves on their own terms, and when I’m onstage, it’s this beautiful time when we come together and share stories together.

 

Q: What do you think the greater purpose comes from you sharing this poem to audiences like high schoolers or anyone who may be suffering from stigmas?

A: I think it’s being more transparent in regards to survivors dealing with trauma. I really hope people see this art form as a means to share these traumatic stories in a new way. It’s a very empowering art form because people have the utility to speak for themselves.


Q: What’s the biggest criticism you’ve gotten? How can high schoolers learn from the way you’ve responded to criticism?

A: I think in the Stevenson community, we can be very critical. It’s also very competitive and so I believe the utmost important thing is honesty. If someone is being critical of your work—if you are being honest with your full self to the work—just know that you did your work honestly.

 

Q: Finally, what’s the most rewarding thing you’ve gotten from sharing your work? 

A: It would be all the people I’ve met because of it. Poetry allows me to be able to connect with students. I’ve gotten to meet new people and have so many one-on-one conversations. When I have people tell they’ve been inspired by me to write, it’s a very humbling experience.

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Alum to host poetry workshops during Odyssey