Swat Slam Poets (Attempt to) Take Richmond

In case you, dear Reader, didn’t bother to actually read my profile, you don’t know that I’m a slam poet, which is fine, no judgment.

Okay, maybe a little judgment.

So, yeah…….I’m a slam poet, and Swarthmore was kind enough to pay for me and four other poets (George the Human Calculator, Julian with the Poetic Name, Noel the Talking Man-Bun, and Danielle the Agent of Hot Fire and Fundamental Truths) from Swat’s spoken word collective, OASIS (Our Art Spoken in Soul), to go to this huge collegiate poetry competition, CUPSI (College Union Poetry Slam Invitational) in Richmond, VA, and do nothing but meet people, listen to/perform art, and take time to get to know ourselves. Seriously, if that doesn’t convince you that Swat is amazing, I really don’t know what will.

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(Noel’s pointing to the “Swarthmore College” drawn onto the window….I’m a bad photographer)

Here’s a more poet-y picture of him:

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So much passion.

Anyway, Noel, George and Julian (the poets in the cover photo), Danielle, and I all spent about five days in Richmond, competing in two preliminary bouts (which we won), and moving on to Semi-Finals (which we didn’t, but it was such a great experience that it really doesn’t matter). We spent almost the entirety of the academic year preparing for the competition, and produced a lot of work that was emotionally taxing, but wholly cathartic. The entire experience of getting on a stage and pouring your heart out for three minutes can be terrifying and draining, but having four other people that are willing to be your support system makes the process feasible, and, naturally, provides you with a community of loving artists that look out for one another. Had I gone anywhere else, met any other people, I don’t know if I’d have ever gotten into slam poetry and made the kinds of friends this adventure afforded me.

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Clearly we have a lot of love for one another…

Julian won “Best Poet” of the entire competition,

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(If there is any picture that can be used to explain this poet, this is it…)

and our sister team, Babel, of Temple University, won a few awards as well. Being surrounded by such amazing artists on a regular basis has not only shaped me as a poet, but also as a person, and I’d like to think I’ve become a better friend/person/human/*insert whatever word you want here*, and that’s something I wouldn’t change for anything. I hope that OASIS, CUPSI, and Swarthmore’s tradition of supporting artists continues, because things like this are what distinguishes Swat from so many other schools, and reaffirms Swat as the best place I could’ve ever chosen to attend.

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