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Penn State W.O.R.D.S. Hosts Slam Finals

What do they have? Words, and plenty of them.

Wednesday night, Penn State’s student organization W.O.R.D.S. (Writers Organized to Represent Diverse Stories) hosted their final Slam poetry competition for the 2016 Slam Series season. Finalists were competing for one of four spots on the 2017 Penn State CUPSI team.

For those who aren’t familiar, CUPSI stands for College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The competition is an event that the Association of College Universities International holds annually — though this is only Penn State’s second year competing. The invitational will be held in the spring of 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. It’s kind of a big deal for artists in the college slam poetry circuit, as it’s the one time of the year these poets can voice their opinions and receive national recognition for their efforts.

Slam poetry is an art form that involves both wit and verbal fluidity. The goal of Penn State W.O.R.D.S. is to embrace this art form and educate the general public on current social issues. They strive to generate an open dialogue on such subjects, in which the group as a whole can cathartically voice their opinions. That’s why their slam poetry series are the perfect outlets for such discussion. They foster creative discourse and battle social ignorance.

This year the Penn State Slam Finals featured twelve artists, all of whom shared powerful, original poems. Their pieces focused on hotly debated issues in today’s society — such as racism, verbal and physical abuse, rape culture, sexism, police brutality, and the results of the recent election. Emotions came to surface and boundaries were crossed in order to bring to light the issues these Penn State students found to be most pressing. A couple hundred came out to support the artists, and the event even had its own geotag.

All twelve contestants raised artfully crafted opinions, but in the end only four of them could earn a spot on the CUPSI team. David Gaines, Davon Clark, Abby Kennedy, and Rabiyatu Jalloh were the four lucky finalists selected to represent their university this spring in the 17th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. Hopefully this year our very own slam poetry team will make it to the finals round, and perhaps even secure a spot as number one.

danalipshutz“What you got? Words.”


“Don’t be nice, be nasty”

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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