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Each year, the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) produces the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) offering an opportunity for campuses with new or existing Poetry Slam programs to compete for top honors and to share their artistry and voices. And everyone is enriched by sharing poetry, embracing the value of inclusivity, and supporting a program in which “Everyone’s voice is welcome.”

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Slam poetry is a form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event, called a “slam,” at which poets perform their own poems that are judged on a numeric scale by randomly picked members of the audience.

At a recent CUPSI slam, Dan Roman gave a powerful account of living with it. Sometimes, there is no better way to explain; this is one of those times. Watch the following video.


Thanks to Dan Roman for sharing his description of it; ACUI for recognizing the need to support poetry slams; CUPSI for organizing the poetry slam; YouTube for hosting the video; Google for helping me find the video; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture, video, and text I used in this post.


  1. I imagine it was healing for the person in the video to perform his poem about depression in front of a live audience that loudly cheered him on.

    I fInd giving pain a voice through poetry very appealing however I would need more courage to act out a personal experience while an audience could possibly respect or reject me as loudly.

    1. Esther, my guess is that you (and everybody else in the World) is constantly being judged by someone about something you did or did not do. The fact that somebody critiques you for the way you act, talk, dress, think, etc. is an opportunity to learn. Viewing a critique as a negative is not the only way to view it.

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