Expressions of gratitude
Thinking about art usually conjures up images of watercolors, sketches and sculptures. What is rarely recognized is poetry. San Antonio has a thriving poetry scene that embodies an array of individuals from professionals and artists to college students and songwriters. San Antonian, Joshua Hinson gains inspiration from this art and shares his appreciation by giving back to the community.
Born February 1987, Joshua Hinson, known to his friends as “Lakey”, began a life of complexity that eventually led to inspiration. The son of two struggling parents, held down by addictions that they would later overcome, Lakey’s life until age seven was defined by foster homes. Lakey’s given name is Joshua, and the name was no accident, it was a resounding plea for Salvation on the mind of his mother during her trying times.
At seven, Lakey ended up in a foster home where he would stay in for the next eight years. This foster home was in Leakey, Texas where he would later get the nickname he now answers to, Lakey. Living in Leakey was ultimately the catalyst for shaping who Joshua is today.
In 2005, he graduated from high school in Longview, then later that summer moved to San Antonio. In 2007, he was exposed to PuroSlam, an organization that provides an outlet for poets to express themselves and compete amongst others on a local and national level. By this time, Lakey had more than 200 original poems in his arsenal and was eager to share his voice in a live poetry slam.
“The first time I remember seeing Lakey on stage, it wasn’t Lakey at all. At the time, the peak of PuroSlam’s strong stretch at Sam’s Burger Joint, and Joshua “Lakey” was signing up under the stage name: ‘Oh Captain, My Captain’,” said Amanda Flores, 2011 grand slam champion and recent Trinity graduate. “Joshua dances a funky balance between colloquial accessible language and scattered poetic devices”.
In 2008, he won his first slam and, after securing a spot as an alternate for nationals in 2009, earned his position on the national’s team in 2010 and 2011. With backing from the Office of Cultural Affairs, City of San Antonio and various members of the community, it was evident that the community was brimming with the desire to embrace a “reawakened” art form. At that point, the role poetry and the arts would play in Joshua’s life was solidified.
Inspired both by poetry and San Antonio’s scene filled with talented poets, Joshua formulated a way to give back to the city by creating Puro Slam Working (PSW) in 2010. Largely, it was Joshua’s goal to unite poets and provide an avenue for them to thank the city for their support.
“We volunteer in order to show our gratitude, love, and really get an idea as to what it means to represent your city,” said Lakey.
PSW is supported primarily of PuroSlam poets and fans that volunteer for non-profits around San Antonio.
In their first year, they exceeded the goal of 1,000 volunteer hours. In this second “season” PSW’s goal is 1,500 hours and they are on pace to beat it with already 300 clocked volunteer hours in the past two and a half months.
“We live in a city of over a million people so mathematicians say a one-in-a-million story is possible every day,” said Lakey. “That may be too optimistic, but hopefully some optimistic or bored people will go out and be the change they want to see in the world as Ghandi once said.”
Joshua continues to motivate and inspire others in San Antonio with his entrepreneurial spirit. He is also a visual artist, teaching himself lessons with every drawing. His first professional art show was October 2011 at the BorderLinea showcase at Studio 13. The arts is an irreplaceable aspect of a community, as it defines its citizens and exposes the many facets of each individual. Poetry is one of the arts we cannot forget.
“Poetry and the arts not only act as an outlet for frustrations and dramatic urgencies,” said Flores. They bring to the surface learning opportunities and mind-openers that I’m not sure can be encountered by memorizing the periodic table or graphing a slope.”
Currently, PSW is actively volunteering at Inner City Development, S.T.A.N.D and Trey’s house. If you are interested in volunteering with Puro Slam Working, contact Joshua Hinson at firstname.lastname@example.org for ways to get involved. PuroSlam is free at 10:30 p.m. every Tuesday night at On The Half Shell Oyster Bar at 202 Navarro. To view Lakey’s work, visit facebook.com/LakeythePoet.