Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean speaks at first Mav Literary Fest


Ananya Agrawal

Junior Ananya Agrawal designed the Mav Literary Fest button.

Ellie Monday, Staff Writer

From his grandmother’s house in New Orleans to the Broadway stage, Emanuelee “Outspoken” Bean evolved his game of occasional hip-hop rapping into a fiery devotion to educate youth through performance poetry.

On Nov. 12, in a virtual assembly, Bean spoke about his writing process and performed poems for the Mav Literary Fest, the new annual Book Fair.

“Watching his mind work was really neat,” junior Eve Kroencke said. “His words inspired me to try spoken-word poetry. The ability of someone to create a poem, memorize it and move people with their words is an amazing talent. He does that perfectly.” 

In past years, author signings and books recommended by faculty flooded the Great Hall during the Book Fair. Even though, with the pandemic, students can only purchase books through the website, the Fest found unique ways to celebrate everything literary. Bean hosted poetry workshops in multiple English classes.

“Poetry is so interesting to read because it is so much packed into so little,” said junior Ananya Agrawal, the design contest winner for the Mav Literary Fest button.

For many students, not being able to browse the shelves in the Great Hall during free periods took away the main aspect of the fair. Some did not even realize that the Mav Literary Fest was taking place until the assembly. 

“In the past, the fair felt continuous, but now it’s more like isolated one-time things,” Agrawal said. “I understand why the school needs to do what they’re doing, but it is still not the same.”

Kroencke says that Bean revived the spirit of the Fest through his enthusiasm for poetry and personal interactions with students. With the new format of the fair, the Upper School wanted to highlight a type of literature that had not been focused on in the past; they chose performance poetry, a blend of performance art and literature.

His coloring book “Color Outside the Lines” is a collection of his 5-minute poems, available on his website.

“The book pulls together our mindfulness that we’ve been practicing in the Academic Commons,” said Suzanne Webb, the Upper School Librarian. “We [were] so lucky to have [Outspoken Bean] because he speaks from the heart and helps us experience poetry in a new way.” 

Passion is not enough of a word to describe what he has

— Eve Kroencke

On Friday, Nov. 13, Bean virtually visited via Zoom with book club and the creative writing class during lunch. He explained that he treated his poems with different mindsets and encouraged writers to deeply reflect upon their work only after writing whatever came to their mind. Students explored their own writing and a poem by his favorite poet Sunni Patterson, “Letter from the Porch.”  

“Passion is not enough of a word to describe what he has,” Kroencke said. “He is able to pull people in with his own personality and teach them poetry even if they didn’t understand it before which is what transformed people’s experiences.

Print checkouts are down about 200 checkouts so far this year most likely due to COVID precaution according to Webb. But, e-book checkouts have skyrocketed, and Webb predicts Bean’s visit will cause an increase of checkouts after Mav Literary Fest.

Bean concluded his lunch visit with some final advice for students tackling writer’s block.

“Like how Michelangelo chiseled David out of a slab of marble, your creation is in that block,” Bean said. “You just got to write.”