WU-SLam, Washington University in St. Louis’ spoken-word poetry group, placed sixth at the 14th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, the nation’s largest college slam poetry tournament. The University of Colorado-Boulder hosted the event March 12-15. This is the third time WU-SLam has cracked the top 10.
Freshman Shaun Ee coached juniors Sam Lai, Tayler Geiger, Ben Tolkin and freshmen Andie Berry and Seohyun Kim. Poets from 58 schools competed.
WU-SLam members created new group works for the event and performed solo poems. Some works were intensely personal; others offered a sharp critique of our values and culture.
In “Say My Name,” Kim shares why she once went by the name Sam: “For six years, people spat out my name because foreign only tastes good when it’s Americanized.”
And in “On ‘Breaking Bad,’” Geiger lambasts our love affair with character Walter White: “In Missouri, meth is a fact of life. Now ‘Breaking Bad’ comes along and tells us the way we die is Emmy-worthy.”
Geiger called the competition “powerful and exhausting.”
“There was a plethora of different cultural perspectives being shared and it’s also a really loving community,” Geiger said. “At a certain level, it’s not about the competition but supporting each other creatively.”