Spoken word poet performs for Hispanic Heritage month

A touring spoken word poet, Manuel Roberto Orduña Carretero, performed his works about identity, injustice and diversity on Sept. 14 in FMU’s Chapman Auditorium in the McNair Science Building (MSB).  

Carretero, who goes by Chibbi, is a queer poet who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and raised in Texas.  

“I grew up in a small border town in Texas, literally on the border,” Chibbi said. “95% Mexican, 3% animals, 2% everything else. Just very homogeneous, and 90% Catholic. So it was very, very predetermined ideas to how we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to act.” 

Chibbi performed a majority of his poems without any accompaniment, but for two pieces he played instrumental music. For another, he played a video that he spoke over. After each poem, the audience would snap, often snapping in the middle of the poems as well – something Chibbi said was allowed if the audience heard something they liked. 

Before performing his poem, “Whose Right,” Chibbi prefaced with a simple message for the audience. 

“If there is one thing that you walk away with from my set, it is knowing that whoever you are, wherever you are in your journey, you have a voice, and it’s valid and you should use it,” Chibbi said.  

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) partnered with the gender studies program to bring Chibbi to campus in honor of Hispanic heritage month.  

“Being Latin is not the only thing I am,” Chibbi said. “We all live in these intersections of identity, right? Gender, race, culture, sexuality, hobbies, interests, professions, majors, music we like, all of that, right? Each one is a little puzzle piece that makes up the whole of us.” 

One poem performed in Chibbi’s set was titled “Nameless,” and it is featured in Chibbi’s book “Otro/Patria.” In the poem, he details a scene of people from different cultural backgrounds barbequing for the Fourth of July.  

“When he started going in about the Fourth of July and how diverse the world is, he really hit me right then,” said Alexis Gaffney, a junior health administration major, said.  

Chibbi stayed after his performance to talk to students and sign books. Merchandise was available for purchase and included bumper stickers, pins and posters featuring Chibbi’s poetry and icon.  

He also had two books available for sale, including one made in collaboration with over 40 other Texan poets. The book, titled “Contra,” was made in response to Donald Trump’s run for reelection and Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death in 2020.  

“We reached out to a number of poets being like, ‘we’re putting together this anthology, just any feelings that you’ve had or you’ve written over the past four years, if you have poems you’d like to send to us, send them our way,’” Chibbi said. “We donated our time, they donated their poems, the publisher donated his money to publish the books and we donated 100% of the sale’s proceeds to an organization called MOVE Texas that helps get young people and historically marginalized people of color registered to vote.”  

FMU was Chibbi’s first stop of his fall tour; next he will be doing a full tour of Texas.