NYU slam poetry team, SLAM! at NYU, captured the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, out-versing 45 other schools in a national competition held April 18-21 at California’s University of La Verne.
This year’s team included: Kate Guenther (Gallatin '14), Aziza Barnes (Tisch '14), Safia Elhillo (Gallatin '13), Joseph Amodei (Tisch '13), Connor Sampson (Tisch '13), and Eric Silver (CAS '13). It was coached by Brian Dillon, who has taught at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and Stephanie Holmbo, an NYU alumnus.
Slam poetry is a form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive event. In these competitions, or slams, poets perform their works and are judged by randomly picked members of the audience. The College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), sponsored the Association of College Unions International, is now in its 11th year.
While the NYU team is in its first year as an official university club, it has competed at CUPSI the previous two years. Moreover, team members note there are ample local opportunities to get into prime poetic shape—New York City’s four poetry-reading venues are all located near the NYU campus: the Bowery Poetry Club, NUYorican Poets Café, LounderARTS, and the Intangible Slam.
"I am so honored to a part of a team that is so talented and so committed to poetry,” said Silver, the club’s president. “Although winning a national title is great, it feels that much more meaningful that I won it with these members of NYU Slam. We worked so hard, and all of the hours we spent writing, editing, rehearsing, and striving to create something meaningful.
“Over the last few weeks, the team picked up the word ‘mahalo', a term of thanks, praise, and esteem in Hawaiian. I know I am so thankful for the accomplishments and praise we've received from other poets and the audiences. To the team, I'd like to say, 'Mahalo.' "