Asia Project poet inspires students

By: Max Bruns ~Staff Writer~

The Student Activities Council (SAC) recently hosted spoken-word poet Asia and his guitarist and brother-in-law, Jollan Aurelio to perform his creative works.

About 35 people came out to support the poet, whose poems are accented by the musical accompaniment of his brother-in-law. Jollan started touring with Asia several years into his poetic career because, as Asia said, “He creates a musicality which elevates the emotional level of the poems.”

Asia became a spoken word artist and poet in 2006 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. He spent part of the show telling a poem about his battle with cancer.

“Cancer is one of those things… people ask you, as a person diagnosed with cancer, ‘are you afraid of death?’ You say, ‘I’m afraid that I haven’t been living,’” Asia said to the crowd.
He was working a 9-to-5 job as a credit card salesman, training college students to solicit credit cards to the public.

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Spoken word poet Asia (left) and his guitarist and brother-in-law Jollan Aurelio (right) perfomed for Xavier students

“I hated the job. I got it as a temporary employment opportunity in college and they just kept promoting me and giving me more money. I was caught up in the stability of the paycheck and benefits until I was diagnosed with cancer,” Asia said.

After he was diagnosed, Asia made a promise to himself to quit his job and become a full time poet if he survived the treatment.

“I had to get out when I could,” Asia said.

Asia’s poetry performance is a continuous show with the recital of several of Asia’s own poems interjected by conversational crowd work. His poems cover a range of topics, from the death of his sister to the ideas of aging and self-image.

He recited one poem about the after-effects of the cancer treatment on his self-image.
“I want everyone in the audience to know that they’re beautiful,” he said.

“I had to realize that I am broken, but still beautiful,” Asia said. “I perform poetry because I think it does something to people; it really makes them feel like they’re not alone.” Many of Asia’s poems reflect this theme.

To find out more about Asia’s poetry, visit Asia can be seen performing poems in several media sites, such as YouTube and ButtonPoetry.