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This mans name is Rafael Casal. I’m not even close to being over emotional, but this he seems to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear one of his pieces. Strong. Strong is a good way to describe this him. His poems will give send shivers your spine- guaranteed. His words hit me harder than anything I’ve every been hit by. If I’m ever feeling down or uninspired, I listen to his poems, and I’m not going to lie, it gives me so much motivation and inspiration. If you haven’t actually seen the video that’s posted above, I strongly suggest you watch/listen to it now. His poems are about a variety of topics, but they always have a solid meaning to them. I think it’s made me try harder to put more meaning into my poems (if you haven’t noticed). I don’t want to just write a poem, I want to write art. I want to write something that keeps people on the edge of their seat, as I think he does. He says “I like to use the personal and then try to relate it to the universal.” DAMN. I guess many poets do this, but for some reason I feel as though I can relate to what he’s saying a lot more that other poets that I’ve heard. Maybe it’s because he’s young, or urban, or speaks a certain way. All I know is, he’s a real inspiration.

You might ask yourself who this Rafael Casal is, so let me fill you in! This cat was born on August 8th, 1985. He is an American Writer, Slam Poet, Recording rap artist, and also an educator.  He is a a 2-time International BNV (Brave New Voices) Poetry Slam Finalist Champion and 3-Time cast member of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO. Surprising enough, a def poetry video is how I found him! By the time he was 18 years old, Rafael was touring, performing, and teaching nation wide with YouthSpeaks. YouthSpeaks is a non-profit organization that empowers youth through spoken-word performance. He dropped out of high school when he was a teen and earned his diploma through an alternative independent study program. He spent three years as creative director at the University of Wisconsin. On a scholarship program administered by the school’s Multicultural Arts Initiatives office. This scholarship was called Madison’s First Wave Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Arts Learning Community. He finished his degree there. He is currently pursuing his love for music, by trying to establish himself as a renounced rapper. This doesn’t seem out of his grip as I’ve learned that he’s shared stages with many famous artists such as  Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, KRS-ONE, and  Kanye West. I hope he makes it work.


If you like what you’ve heard and seen, check out this video as well- it’s sure to leave you in amazement:


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