Penn State’s First National Slam Team Wins Against Rowan University

On the road to CUPSI: Penn State wins over Rowan in the first ever State Slam.

Penn States Spoken word organization, W.O.R.D.S held their first poetry slam invitational against Rowan University Thursday in preparation for CUPSI, a national poetry slam competition between other universities across the nation.

A poetry slam is essentially a competitive form of poetry in which people share their hearts on stage with the hopes of earning more points than their competition to either move to the next round, or win the overall competition.

Those competing in the slam from Penn State W.O.R.D.S were David Gaines, Abby Kennedy, Davon Clark, Rabiyatu Jalloh and Ka’lee Strawbridge-Moten.

This event was host by Tariq Luthun, a touring poet who was the 2013 CUPSI Finalist’s coach.

This event began with a short Open Mic Session. The order of poets was as follows:

  1. Raven – Spoken Word: “Roots”
  2. Louie – Rap: “Sheesh”
  3. Fesha – Spoken Word: “Its Just Pain”
  4. Fatima – Spoken Word: “Untitled”
  5. Andrew – Spoken Word: “Untitled”
  6. J.O. – Spoken Word: “A Memo to My Child: Policing Direction”
  7. Chris – Spoken Word: “Impulsivity”
  8. Carla – “The Puzzle”
  9. Alex – “Untitled”
  10. Tevin – “New Jays


Following the Open Mic session, the actual slam began. Five judges from the audience were selected that were unbiased to the performers and did not know any of them personally.

The five simple rules were explained to the crowd, which essentially were:

  1. If you like what you hear, make some noise
  2. No cell phone usage while poets are performing
  3. Applaud the poet on their way to the stage and on their way off
  4. If you agree with a judges score, cheer; if you disagree, boo
  5. Enjoy yourself

Before the teams could start slamming, a sacrificial poem, or in other words,a crowd warmer was performed. In this case, the sacrificial poet was Jocelyn whose poem was titled “Remind Yourself” and earned a score of 23.3 points from the judges.

To begin, the two teams were identified as A or B, the crowd was not told who was on what team. Team A would perform, the judges will give their scores, then Team B would perform. After Team B’s poem is scored, the score for the previous poem was announced. For this slam, Team A was Rowan University and Team B was Penn State. Rowan was up first with a group piece which scored them 27.2 points. Penn State responded with a group piece as well which earned a score of 27.5.

For the second round, Rowan hit with a solo poem, which earned 29.1 points, while Penn State came with another group piece which earned 29.2 points.

Rowan came with a solo piece again which earned 28.9 points and Penn State did the same, their solo poem earned 28.0 points.

Rowan then came with a group piece which earned 27.0 points, to which Penn state rebutted with a solo piece that earned 28.5 points.

For the final round, Rowan hit with a group piece which earned 28.3 points and Penn State’s group piece earned 29.7 points.

While the final points were being tallied, Tariq performed the slam piece the gave at his first CUPSI competition.

After this, the final points were released. Rowan finished with 140.2 points and Penn State came in first place by a two point lead of 142.9 points.



About Alicia Harris (12 Articles)
Alicia is a positive freshman majoring in biochemistry from Northern Virginia. She has big dreams of becoming a surgeon someday many years from now. When she’s not in class, eating, sleeping or studying, you can find her reblogging and starting conversations on Tumblr after-hours, or starting conversations about social justice with friends. In her free time, she loves to take pictures, watch movies, sing and discover new musicians on Spotify.

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