CUPSI – College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational
Spoken word combines social justice and activism, poetry and performance. It is an art that, at its best, exposes the performer’s vulnerability as a way to connect people. In 2010, Occidental’s Spoken Word Club brought this art form to campus, and now, members are competing on a national stage.
This past week, Occidental’s spoken word team—comprised of members Daphne Auza* (senior), Margaux Ziss (first-year), Maggie Mather (sophomore) and coach Henry Dickmeyer* (senior)—packed their bags and their journals for the 15th College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The first two days of CUPSI consist of preliminary bouts, which are “mini” slams in which four teams compete. A team member performs an original poem in each of the four rounds. The top-scoring teams go on to compete in the qualifying slams Friday and Saturday. Five judges, who are randomly selected from the audience, rank each poem on a 0-10 scale, with 10 as the highest score. The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining three are averaged together to create the team score for the round. Occidental’s team made it past the preliminary bouts and placed fourth out of four teams in both of their qualifying rounds. Four of the six schools that the team competed against went on to the semi-finals.
“Both of our bouts were really powerful, really emotional and it was really rewarding knowing that so much thought was put into those two hours,” Dickmeyer said. “We all worked amazingly hard. It was nice to see that pay off through the love and support of the audience.”