Pick 3 is a continuing series in which the Current asks participants in San Antonio's music scene to tell us about three homegrown acts making interesting and inspiring sounds.
In this National Poetry Month edition of Pick 3, we hit up Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, the hip-hop performer who graced the cover of the Current last year. As someone deeply rooted in the Alamo City's poetry, music and arts scene, we thought she’d be perfect to shine light on poets doing outstanding work here. All three of her picks also happened to be on this year’s Puro Slam Team, the only nationally recognized poetry slam outfit in San Antonio.
Mandy Lynn Lara
As co-founder of Raise the Whisper, a group whose mission is to use poetry and arts to help heal the effects of molestation and family rape, Mandy Lynn Lara’s poetry touches on themes including gender and abuse within families. By annunciating each syllable of her carefully crafted pieces, she draws listeners in with a steady cadence that forces them to digest each word.
“She is really wonderful,” said Sanderson, who added that she's also taught alongside Lara at Gemini Ink, a SA nonprofit that empowers writers through workshops, conferences and classes.
A big theme in Chibi Orduña’s work is communicating the complexities of being gay and Mexican while living in Texas. Hailing from Laredo where he co-ran Laredo Border Slam, Orduña’s theater background gleams as his razor blade tongue cuts through the air with rapid fire poetry verses.
“He’s just a powerhouse of a man,” Sanderson said.
Rooster Martinez is a force to be reckoned in Texas poetry circles not only for his explosive performances but also for using his poetry to break down social constructs of what it is to be Mexican-American. He's also known for showing up to support the many weekly and monthly poetry events happening across the Alamo City.
“People don’t give Rooster enough props for everything he does,” said Sanderson, who added that he also teaches at Our Lady of the Lake University and St. Phillips College. “He’s the backbone of the poetry community. He’s like a big brother to everybody."