WU-SLam places sixth at national college slam poetry competition​​

WU-SLam perform “Marathon,” a group poem.

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.

Junior Sam Lai performs at the 14th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

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.”