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Juan Miguel Severo specializes in verses that come alive

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For young ones, poetry has jumped off paper into streets and clubs from the mouths of those who are into spoken word poetry.

JUAN MIGUEL SEVERO (Photos from his Facebook account)

JUAN MIGUEL SEVERO (Photos from his Facebook account)

Spoken word poetry is described as an “oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. It is a ‘catchall’ term that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud, including poetry readings, poetry slams, jazz poetry, and hip hop, and can include comedy routines and prose monologues.”

Among those who’ve gained popularity for this art form is actor Juan Miguel Severo (“Hintayan Ng Langit,” “Overtime,” “That Thing Called Tadhana”). He started writing poems at a young age, and has touched the hearts of many with his socially relevant mostly tear-jerking pieces as “Parating Palayo,” “Naniniwala Ako,” and “Ang Huling Tula Na Isusulat Ko Para Sa’yo.”

Juan Miguel also penned the poem “Labtim” for Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

“Hindi mo na itatanong kung makita mismo ng ’yong mga mata/Ang kanilang mga mata na tinatawid ang masikip na silid upang titigan ang bawa’t isa,” part of it read.

Despite his talent, Juan Miguel admitted he didn’t think spoken word poetry would be a career for him.

“Isa akong frustrated actor. Noong mga panahong iyon, hindi ako makakuha ng parte sa isang teatro. Gusto kong umarte ngunit walang kumukuha. Doon ko naisipan na subukan ang spoken word since sabi naman ng aking nanay, bata pa lang daw ako mahilig na talaga akong tumula,” he told Bulletin Entertainment.

“Noong nakapasok ako sa industriyang ito at nakilala, na naging medyo matagal din naman bago ko naabot, naging maswerte ako dahil marunong ako umarte. Ito ang naging daan upang maging kabuhayan ang talentong ito. Kalaunan, naging isang propesyon ito sa akin.”

Juan Miguel’s first poems were about heartaches. Later, he found himself writing about social injustice and political issues.

He tweaked the popular understanding of the term “hugot” into something about some people’s frustrations over the government.

The “weirdest” subject he ever tackled? Dog poop.

According to Juan Miguel, he writes “two types” of poem. One is intended for paper only, while the other is meant to be read out loud.

“Laging depende sa intensyon ang aking pagsusulat. Halimbawa, kung nais mo magtanghal sa isang entablado, ikokonsidera mo ang iyong audience. Dapat kasi ay maintindihan at maramdaman ng mga tagapakinig kung anong gusto mong sabihin,” he explained. “Mayroon namang mga tulang hindi mo mauunawaan ang gustong sabihin sa isang basa lang. Pero kapag ikaw ay nasa entablado, isang beses mo lang itong gagawin kaya dapat maging malinaw agad ang iyong mensahe. Hindi sapat na masabi ko lamang ito, kailangan maunawaan nila ako.”

Many believe Juan Miguel and the spoken word itself have helped kept the Filipino language alive, especially in times when learning foreign languages seems to have become popular among Pinoys.

with Vice Ganda, JUAN MIGUEL with Xian Lim , With Angel Locsin, With Vilma Santos, JUAN MIGUEL SEVERO (Photos from his Facebook account)

Juan Miguel is a member of Words Anonymous, a group of spoken words artists.

Asked to give advice to those who want to become good at spoken word poetry, he shared: “Sa tingin ko mahahasa ang iyong kakayahan sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanghal sa mga open mic. Sa paraan na iyon, makilala mo ang community. Makakakuha ka ng mga inspirasyon. Ang tendency kasi, kung sino ang napapanood natin, nakokopya natin ng direkta ang boses nila. Dapat ma-expose tayo sa mas malawak na community ng sa ganoon ay maging halo-halo at iba’t-iba ang iyong inspirasyon.”

He admitted that sometimes he gets “annoyed” when people ask him to give a sample or perform impromptu even if he’s just only buying, say, a charger.

“Naiintidihan ko naman na maaaring curious lang sila. Pero kailangan lang din nila maintindihan ang extent ng trabaho na nilalagay ko dito, na hindi lang para gawin ng basta-basta kahit saan,” he said.

If there’s one word in the dictionary that, when removed, would make the world a sad place, what is it?

“Salamat,” he said. “Ako mismo nalulungkot sa mga pagkatataon na hindi ako nakakapagpasalamat sa mga magagandang bagay na dumadating sa buhay ko. Ang pagiging ‘grateful’ ay isang mahalagang kaugalian na dapat sinasabuhay.”

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