Lakers host inaugural poetry slam at GVSU

GVL / Emily Frye 
Poetry slam on Wednesday Nov. 16, 2016

GVL / Emily Frye Poetry slam on Wednesday Nov. 16, 2016

Nicole Bobb

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The Grand Valley State University organization CUPSI hosted its first poetry slam Wednesday, Nov. 16. The slam was organized by recent GVSU graduate Kelsey Fraser.

The event accumulated over 200 attendees. Fraser expressed how exciting it was to know so many GVSU students support poetry and were willing to find time in their schedules to listen to their peers.

“My biggest fear is being in front of people,” poetry performer for CUPSI Aly Phillips said. “I struggle with anxiety like a lot of poets, and always have a really difficult time performing. This form of poetry allows for verbal art to meet written art and create further manipulation of the concept and emotion of the poem.”

The focus of CUSPI isn’t on the competitive nature of the poetry slam. The reason Fraser wanted to create a poetry slam community at GVSU was to foster a community of collaboration, respect and critical thinking.

Fraser wanted to create opportunities in areas that did not previously exist, including the idea for the CUPSI slam or connecting survivors of abuse or assault with therapeutic poetry as a resource.

“I’m always looking for new places to bring poetry, whether that’s a school setting, a business event or a counseling center,” Fraser said.

The slam had 16 speakers in the first round and narrowed down to the top six speakers to participate in the second round. All of the content presented during the slam was an original piece written by each performer.

CUPSI plans to host two additional poetry slams this year. A team of five GVSU student performers will be selected to compete at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in April 2017.

Students who qualify for a spot on the team are undergraduate students with at least a 2.0 GPA and are registered for at least nine credits during the winter semester at GVSU.

“I’ll be the coach for the team, so we’ll train hard to perform our best in April,” Fraser said. “I want to give GVSU students the opportunity to grow as poets and to become recognized early in their writing careers at one of the most exciting national events for poetry.”