Chicano/Mexicano poet, actor and activist will discuss critical thinking at ISU Oct. 8

AMES, Iowa -- The multitalented Michael Reyes, who has been featured on HBO Latino and PBS, will speak at Iowa State University on Oct. 8.

Reyes is a Chicano/Mexicano poet, actor, playwright, artist and community organizer specializing in youth development. His interactive presentation, "Take It Higher Than Just Higher Education," will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 8, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. It is part of the university's Latino Heritage Month Celebration and one of three events Reyes will present on campus. It is free and open to the public.

Reyes combines history, current events and performance into a fusion of education and entertainment. He uses hip hop, poetry and spoken word in his performances, which challenge and confront social ills faced by communities of color. His talk at Iowa State will examine the characteristics of a critical thinker, and what it means to be schooled versus educated.

As a poet and artist, Reyes has been featured on HBO Latino's Habla Series, nationally on Latin Nation and on the PBS documentary "Dream Makers." He is the author of three books of poetry and three performance CDs.

As an actor, his credits include roles in Miguel Piñero's play, "The Sun Always Shines for the Cool," "Chicago Boricua," and the feature film, "Nothing Like the Holidays." He worked with poet Tato Laveria on three productions — "The Spark," "Chupacabera" and "The 1977 Division Street Riots." Reyes is currently touring with the play, "Crime Against Humanity," which he co-wrote with former Puerto Rican political prisoner Luis Rosa.

Reyes will present a faculty workshop, "Multiculturism as a Culture," at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the Memorial Union Gallery. The workshop will focus on understanding the history of multiculturalism. It incorporates poetry dedicated to a wide variety of political figures and historical movements.

Also on Oct. 9, he will present a spoken-word performance at 9 p.m. in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop. "Mexican/Chicano Identity and History Through Spoken Word and Puerto Rican Poems of Solidarity" examines contemporary Chicano identity, delving into such themes as immigration, globalization and community activism. Reyes will create an awareness about Mexican and Chicano identity and culture using poetry themed around historical figures, including Emilinao Zapata and Frida Kahlo. This performance also is part of Latino Heritage Month Celebration, and is free and open to the public.

Reyes' presentation is cosponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Latino Heritage Month Planning Committee, Multicultural Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Programming Advisory Council, Recreation Services, University Committee on Diversity and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information on ISU lectures is available online at, or by calling 515-294-9935.