April 12, 2017, 8:07 pm


Throughout the year we will be featuring how people can and are using their voices around the world. Since part of VASTA's mission is to advance the visibility of the voice, we want to know what voices can do around the world. How are voices being used to impact different communities around the globe? 


For our very first feature, we would like to introduce the incredible,

Andrea Scarpino.


Andrea Scarpino

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Andrea's background:

Andrea Scarpino is the author of the poetry collections Once Upon Wing Lake (Four Chambers Press, 2017), What the Willow Said as it Fell (Red Hen Press, 2016) and Once, Then (Red Hen Press, 2014). She received a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She served as Poet Laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 2015-2017 and is a longtime activist.


What can your voice do?

My voice can change the world—or at least my little corner of the world.


What is your area or field that you're using your voice in and how did you get into it?

Poetry and activism. I began writing poetry when I was a little girl--my mother used to type my spoken poems on her typewriter before I could write them myself--and I've always believed very strongly in my ability to create change in the world. I vividly remember writing my first activist-oriented letter—to President Reagan!


Did you have a moment when you realized that you could use your voice to make a difference in that field?

I've loved poetry as long as I can remember in part because poetry tells stories that change our lives. I'm not sure when I realized I could write my own poetry, but in college, I discovered political poetry, and that was an important moment for me: realizing that I could use my voice to tell a politically-charged story. After I found writers like Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich, I had an entirely new understanding of poetry’s place in everyday life, and I realized that I could try to meld my political activism with my poetry at least some of the time.


What keeps you up at night?

People actively working against equality. Climate Change. Injustice. Violence.


What gives you hope?

Kindness. Even in my most frightened moments when the world seems to be falling apart, I see kindness all around me, and that gives me hope that we can still create a world filled with peace.


Any words to encourage others to use their voice in this world?

In the words of Audre Lorde, "Your silence will not protect you."

Posted by The Engagement Committee at 8:07 pm