Saul Williams: Up Close and Personal

Gary Soriano, Assistant Arts & Life Editor


Photo by NEIU

The 1st Annual Nest Fest at NEIU has secured its own legacy as one of the best creative arts exhibitions NEIU has to offer. Saul Williams, the festival’s headliner, did not fail to entertain, educate and illuminate the minds and hearts of those in attendance. Versatile enough to perform with a live band and dedicated enough to recite a capella pieces from his published works for more than 45 minutes, NEIU was blessed to see the most prominent slam/spoken word poet in the world in his best performance to date.

Rather than stand on the stage and perform behind a microphone, Mr. Williams created a more intimate vibe by asking the audience to sit in a semi-circle as he recounted his written reflections on life and existence. Reciting works from memory, as well as from a recent personal journal (excerpts of which he claimed to not even had time to look over), he encouraged the audience to speak up at any time if they had any comments or questions to share.

This unconventional approach gave listeners the opportunity to share their own stories about how Mr. Williams’ poetry positively influenced their lives as well as a chance to learn his formulaic processes and lyrical inspirations that inspired him to contrive such timeless works as “Coded Language” and “Ohm.” It was an unforgettable experience that enriched souls, soothed hearts and strengthened the humanity of all those in attendance.