National Poetry Month is the ideal time to meet Senior Airman Yahel Pack, a geospatial analyst working in the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. In that capacity, he monitors the disposition of adversarial forces, using geospatial information and imagery.
However, when Pack is off duty, he brings his battle to the stage of the Dayton Poetry Slam, and after winning the local slam last year, he competed nationally at the Individual World Slam in San Diego October 2018, placing 50th.
Originally from Bronx, New York, Pack started a degree in mechanical engineering at State University of New York Buffalo State, but before graduating, he joined the Air Force in 2016.
“I did obtain my Community College of the Air Force degree in Intelligence Studies and am currently going back to school at American Military University for a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics,” he said.
Pack, a mathematician, explained how he got interested in poetry: “I started getting interested in poetry in 2013 when I was in college through a poetry organization called, Tha Ink Club, out of Buffalo, New York.”
Pack said that after that first intercollegiate poetry slam, “I have been slamming ever since.”
“Yahel began talented and just didn’t stop,” said Ethan Milton-Pope, a Tha Ink Club member. “He’s shown an ability to consistently evolve, which is essential for performance art; few people are as versatile in this sense [who] can go toe-to-toe with specialized poets.”
Pack explained that poetry opened up his life to an entirely different world.
“It helped me express myself in a way that’s best for me. It has allowed me to handle fear in a completely different way than I was used to handling it,” he said.
“I still have stage fright, but using that fear of the stage [makes] me a better performer, and [I take] those lessons learned and apply them to my everyday life, which is a tremendous help,” Pack added.
His moniker on the slam stage is simply “Y,” and his friends call him that or Yahel. However, one thing’s clear, Pack or “Y’s” future is bound for great things and to be heard.
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