We Spy: A poem sensation on Sproul nation

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Alex Mabanta/Staff

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Sproul: home of clambering clubbers, a cappella groups, horchata vendors and mantra-chanting Tibetan independence protesters.

Enter Felix Santos — the new face on the block. With a cardboard cutout, a clipboard and plenty of free time, Santos is making his passion for poetry a contagious disease. Witness the train of students passing beneath Sather Gate. Exactly what kind of poet does it take to stop a Golden Bear’s Moffitt migration?

Last Thursday, we at the Daily Clog chatted with the 21-year-old stanza extravaganza to find out.

The Daily Clog: Explain to us what you are doing.

Santos: I write free poems on the spot. Any topic of the audience’s choice. Then I recite it to them and give it to them.

DC: What happens if you get the same topic?

Santos: Everything I write is original. Even if I get the same topic, I never write the same poem. I try my best to go deeper than people expect.

DC: Why do you recite your poetry?

Santos: I think there is something very intimate in spoken poetry.  I wrote it and know how it’s supposed to sound. Oh, and my handwriting is terrible, so that’s probably the only time they will understand the whole thing (laughs).

DC: And money?

Santos: I want to detach money from this entirely. I  believe that when you have a skill to give that to people, if you ask for tips, people feel obligated. But then it’s not a gift. And I like the idea of giving my poetry to help people.

DC: So why are you here at UC Berkeley?

Santos: (smiles) Because of the way the sun hits the trees here.

DC: And when and where can readers expect to find you?

Santos: Usually on Sproul once a week for four to five hours. It does depend on how I feel, because these are my days off. I work five days a week as a cook for Haven in Oakland, and I don’t have any set days. But I’ve been doing this since March, and I’m going to do this for as long as I can.

Contact Alex Mabanta at [email protected]