There are a lucky few who discover their passion at a young age and are able build their dreams into a reality. Hannah Barker is one of those lucky few.
“I started with poetry because I really loved the written word ever since I was little and I think it was in late elementary school we started to have poetry focused lessons,” said Barker, a Northwestern alum. “I really liked it, and poetry seemed to be a great outlet for me. I have basically just kept writing since then.”
Barker’s passion for the poetry art form became clear as she explained how she views poetry compared to how others view it.
“I love that poetry ends up becoming its own language,” Barker said. “People don’t like poetry because they think its too hard or just about rhyming. Poetry is a lot more accessible than people think. There are a ton of contemporary poets that write about stuff that everybody goes through. Poetry somehow allows people to say things they just normally wouldn’t.”
According to Barker, who has a degree in Theatre, she is most passionate about spoken word poetry.
“I think it was my senior year in high school that I discovered spoken word poetry and fell in love with it,” Barker said. “I really love performing.”
This past semester Barker has been interning for the indie folk band, Bella Ruse. The co-founder of the band, Joseph Barker, is Hannah’s older brother, which played a big role in how she landed the internship.
“I kind of just asked,” Barker said. “I know that my brother and his wife had had interns in the past, and I just wanted a way to hang out with my family since they are so far away. The reason I wanted to intern with them especially is because I focused on sound design at NW, and I knew that Joseph was really good at it.”
After starting her month-long internship with Bella Ruse, the siblings began a completely new project together.
Barker has started recording a spoken word poetry album with her brother.
“This project has turned into something that we can create art together in a way neither of us have ever done before. It’s an entirely different creative process,” Barker said. “Joseph suggested that we make this album, I think it’s more of a project with me and my brother which makes it especially meaningful for me.”
“I have been recording all of my poetry and telling him what I imagine for the feeling or sounds. He then goes and writes music for it. This is nothing we could duplicate live, it’s a very specific recorded project,” Barker explained.
Barker recognizes the large role that the music contribution plays in her album.
“It adds a mood to it,” Barker said. “Emotion is added because of music. It connects people to a certain memory and helps draw out the emotions that are truly already there with the poetry.”
She will be recording with her brother for about a month and plans on being back in Orange City by Valentine’s Day.
As for the length of the album or when it will be complete, “We aren’t entirely sure,” said Barker. “I made a list of the poems of mine that I would want recorded. What he wants to do is record me preforming these poems. He would be able to continue the project whether I’m here or not because then all my recordings would be complete and he can just continue creating music for the background.”
The duo are planning on putting no more than 15 poems on the album.
Barker’s album will be available online when it’s finished and she is taking requests for CD copies.