Lyricist Lounge Anthology: Circles (2023)

Lyricist Lounge Anthology: Circles is a project that the 2022-2023 Lyricist Lounge & Arts Intern, Brandon Gagante, worked on as a culminating work of the year. Thank you to all the student artists who contributed to the collection. 

Portion of the cover of the Lyricist Lounge Anthology; blue silhouette of a person reaching arm toward a sun-like object & the world Circles on their hand

Access the e-book PDF version of the anthology here.


A message from Brandon about the work:

Lyricist Lounge in its nature, is a physical space that we have carved out for ourselves by ourselves, to tell our authentic stories within. However, aside from the pictures taken, videos occasionally taken by friends, and the open mic sign up sheet, there isn’t much to tell the story of Lyricist Lounge and how it has been molded over time. Tradition is formed not only by recurring events but also by the written and physical texts that are passed down and tell the stories of origin, our origin. Although Lyricist Lounge has existed for much longer than just the 2022-2023 school year, the artists themselves and the works included in this anthology reflect what is important to the larger community at this moment in time. This is, more accurately, an origin point not for Lyricist Lounge, but for us, the people who have made Lyricist Lounge what it is this year.

This Anthology is named Lyricist Lounge: Circles, here’s why:

We end each Lyricist Lounge off by gathering in a circle and performing an Isang Bagsak, which is tagalog for one fall we all fall, (and by extension) one rise we all rise. This originates from the Delano Grape Strike, where the Filipino Labor Activists that led this strike joined hands with the Latinx Labor Activist community to form the United Farm Workers Movement. To transcend the barriers created by language and ethnicity, the members of this movement practiced the Isang Bagsak, or the Unity Clap, to show understanding and solidarity with each other regardless of the barriers that separated them.

Every single time we gather in this space, it is a show of revolutionary love, solidarity, and community empowerment. We come here not only to speak but to listen. We demonstrate the strength in togetherness and not individual power at another’s expense. This is why the cover depicts a person being lifted up by many hands. As an individual artist, I would’ve never would have gotten here if it weren’t for so many of my fellow artists, loved ones, and supporters. And it’s because we’re here together, we’re able to reach even more people with our work. Who are we without our own personal circles supporting us? Who are we as creatives, no- as people, without each other to rely on? This book is an extension of this intention. A declaration, in fact. That we shall be heard, and we will not be ignored if we are able to move forward together! When the works we create are extensions of our lived experiences, I invite everyone reading to think of the people that influenced you, who protect you, and who will call out your name against the gaping maw of any storm that seeks to harm you. We cannot survive alone in this world, and I think this is something to be celebrated. To know that we will always seek out each other. No one is alone in this world! :) Who makes your circle?

Brandon Gagante
Lyricist Lounge and Arts Intern 2022-2023