Student Artist Spotlight: Poetess Camryn Bruno
By Danielle Cruz
Poets In the Square was one of the many events held during the 2018 St. Kitts and Nevis Culturama Festival and it was also where Camryn Bruno, a York College sophomore, was chosen to perform some of her spoken word pieces as the featured poet.
Bruno, who is currently majoring in communications technology, has been writing and performing poetry and spoken word for more than four years.
She got her start writing poetry when she joined a community development program while she was living in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I started in this community development workshop that one of the divisions had in Trinidad and Tobago and from there they started to host competitions and workshops for us to practice (our spoken word)” said Bruno.
Since her start as a poetess Bruno has won many competitions such as the 2017 First Citizens National Poetry Slam Championship, the 2017 Ms. Tobago Heritage Personality, and the 2017 Courts Bocas Lit Fest Spoken Word Competition. In 2015 she was also the recipient of the Zelma A. Cowie Award for Civic Mindedness, she has participated in the Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival and was chosen to be the Feature Presenter at the We Day celebration in Trinidad and Tobago.
Although her poems have earned her recognition Bruno recalls that when she first started writing poetry she wasn’t all that good and the first poem she wrote on the feeling of saying hello to someone was terribly written.
“It was terrible. It was very short, it was probably about a minute long. It had to do with telling someone hi without telling someone hi, like that feeling just before you tell someone hi. I performed it at one of the showcases that they had in school.”
She also recalls that another one of her earlier poems ended up turning into a song of sorts that centered around calmness and was inspired by her younger sister.
“It was about my sister, my little sister. I was looking at her and the glisten in her eyes and her eyes had sort of like this blue reflection so it was like blue shining eyes and it was a poem on like calmness,” said Bruno.
When asked what else inspires her poems Bruno explained her poems are mostly her way of making a statement on current social issues and events. So for her she draws inspiration from society and things happening to or around her and then she relates it to the issue she wishes to address.
“Most of the time it comes to me. If I see stuff in society like how a car works and I’ll relate it to a social issue. I just see it and then it just unconsciously comes to me…I write down ways to encourage, change and start reformation. ”
For example one of her favorite poems is titled Report Card, and while it was a comedic piece, the poem addresses the increasingly high number of teenage pregnancies in Trinidad and Tobago and was inspired from some remarks she had overheard in school.
“It was inspired by someone’s like monologue in school and it was like ‘she preggy, she preggy’… and right now there are alot of teen pregnancies happening in Trinidad and Tobago right now,” said Bruno. “So I wrote that piece on like the perspective of a teacher in a school that was named Teen Get Preggy Highschool. It was a high school were everyone was getting pregnant and I presented them with a report card giving some reasons why teenagers were getting pregnant at that time.”
Another poem she wrote a year ago used the rain cycle to address the reoccurrence of crimes and murders in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I used the rain cycle as one of the reasons why everything was happening, so the rain falls and the streams pick up all of the bodies and carries them into the ocean… There were a lot of reports of bodies that were floating up in the ocean last year.” said Bruno. “Then it rain starts again and it’s like a cycle of crime and abuse.”
Violence, specifically gender based violence is a social issue and topic that Bruno is actively fighting and writing about.
She even joined a community development program in Trinidad and Tobago as they went around touring around 50 schools, where they did short classes/ workshops that taught the kids about gender based violence and what they can do about it and how to handle situations involving it.
Bruno has also started to begin teacher artist training with that same community development program, where she is learning how to teach kids how to use spoken word to express themselves.
“In the last year and a half I began doing teacher artist training which is where you teach students how to use spoken word to better themselves and to better their craft.”