“I’m not going to stand on the stage tonight because I want to look into your eyes and see what I mean to you,” slam poet Giles Li said when he visited campus on Friday, Oct. 24 and performed to an audience of approximately 20 people.
Li, originally from Boston, was a personable performer, generating laughs from the audience several times. He reflected on his own past Halloweens and Christmases in poems, asked the audience to “Facebook him” because of a battle he is in to gain the most friends.
“I just want acceptance, that’s all,” Li said.
The event was put on by Quinnipiac’s Asian Pacific-Islander Student Association (ASPA). They provided refreshments during the performance. After paying the $3 admission, each guest was given one free raffle ticket. Raffle prizes distributed after the show included a digital camera, an iPod, and gift certificates to several restaurants in Hamden and New Haven.
“I was into the performing aspect of it, just being able to get on stage,” Li said of his poetry. “When I was younger and went to colleges I was into the political aspect of it but I realized nobody cares, they already have their own opinion.”
He regularly does college tours to address community issues. He spoke about issues ranging from memories of family, his love for the musician Prince, the concept of a woman defining herself by a relationship with a man, and his fascination with the “whammy bar” on the Rock Band guitar that lead to his purchase of an actual electric guitar.
“Check it out! You can really do that in real life!” Li said about the whammy bar effect while playing his guitar for the audience.
When Li is not performing, he works at a community center and has a blog on gilesli.com, which states that he likes to approach serious issues, such as the election, with an emotional stance.
“I think it’s important to vote but I also think it’s important not just to vote. Don’t fool yourself into believing your job is done when you leave the booth. Don’t fool yourself into believing change is achieved when the election is won,” Li said. “My name is Giles Li, and I approve this message.”