Spoken-word poet Kyle Tran Myhre, better known by his stage name as “Guante,” gave a performance and lecture over building a lasting culture of consent. The speaker was hosted by College Acquaintance Rape Eductors (C.A.R.E.) and sponsored by the Hastings College Lecture Series in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Week. The event took place April 23 in Hazelrigg Student Union A & B at 6 p.m.
Guante performed a number of poems that addressed the topics of gender violence, masculinity, societal norms and consent. The collection presented was intended to get audience members to think about answering the question Guante asked during his lecture, “How do we build a culture of consent?” These poems, Guante said, while written for a specific purpose, can encompass many of the issues that society faces today, like asking for consent in a multitude of situations.
“I don’t think the poems themselves are the most important part of what I do … it’s more about where you take those ideas and the conversations we can have based on those poems,” Guante said.
Guante works to build a platform in which communities can learn about consent and understanding what they do with that information. The spoken-word poet also talked about this pamphlet of information and resources, or his book “Zine,” that he uses when talking to groups at schools and universities across the nation.
“It was because of specific people in my life who are already doing this work, and who I happened to be friends with. So much of this, both art and activism, is just about the people who are around you; so I was blessed and really fortunate to have people in my life who were doing this work,” Guante said about how he started addressing consent and sexual education activism within his writing and performances.
“You write about the stuff that’s around (you). You write about what’s on your mind day-to-day, so I kind of just fell into it,” Guante said.
Guante not only advocates for consent education, but also for other social issues. As an activist for social change, his work uses specific instances in his life in order to talk about the problems society faces as a whole.
Guante is also an emcee and is the two-time National Poetry Slam Champion in 2009 and 2010. The poet talked not only about how he got started addressing issues, but also about how spoken-word poetry became an outlet to externalize his thoughts.
“The reason I got involved (in spoken-word poetry) was just through relationships, like having friends. Like I played basketball with one friend and then he would drag me along with him to an open-mic or whatever. He’s like ‘I don’t wanna go to this thing by myself, you should come with me.’ I’d have a friend I’d ride to class with or something and then they drag me to a poetry slam — little, weird connections like that. I think when I actually tried it … something clicked for me,” Guante said.