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Funny, Thoughtful National Poetry Slam Winner at Drew

Melissa Lozada-Oliva performs before a range of students.

February 2018 – Spoken-word poet Melissa Lozada-Oliva delivered a mixture of laughs and provocative thought during a performance at Drew University.

For much of the event, Lozada-Oliva read from her book, Peluda, which translates into “hairy.” The text explores her fascination with hair removal and alludes to larger themes about the intersection between body image and her Latina identity.

In her work, Lozada-Oliva, a National Poetry Slam winner, covers personal and profound topics surrounding ethnicity, race, beauty and the immigrant experience. And while she certainly delivered heart-wrenching and powerful pieces at Drew, she also had the audience chuckling in their seats with bitingly comedic lines. Here’s a taste of her poem, “My Spanish”:

The event, hosted by University Program Board, took place in the lounge of a first-year dormitory, an intimate setting that attracted a broad range of students, including those in Drew’s Master of Fine Arts in Poetry program. Board member and English major Leanza Rodriguez C’19 warmed up the crowd with an original slam poem of her own.

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