“Paris” by Saidu Tejan-Thomas and Rob Gibson of Virginia Commonwealth University at CUPSI Prelims

Can we all just have a moment of appreciation for the genius of this poem?


Trailer for Brooklyn College’s Poetry Slam Team. The BC Slam Team took part in the 2013 CUPSI (College Union Poetry Slam Invitational) and placed 2nd in the nation out of 59 colleges. This video is a snipit to a full length video following the team on their CUPSI journey and their thoughts on their artistry. As a member of the 2013 team I am glad to share this with you, the full length video will be up soon enough, but for now enjoy.


I’ve been away for the past week because my slam poetry team was competing at CUPSI!  I took a bunch of video, and this is what came of it.  (:  I’ll be posting video of individual performances later in the week so that you can check them out.

In addition, I’ll be putting out my second album at some point within the next few months, and this album will have poems on it!  Yaaaaay!  If you have any requests (for songs or poetry), now would be the time.



The official documentary of the Wordsmiths’ trip to compete in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational 2013 where the UNC Slam Team placed in 4th of 59 teams from across the nation.

ariana brown: 4/30: dear new york

Last week,
I sat in the audience at a poetry slam
in the same auditorium Malcolm X
spoke his last words in.

He never really left us.

By my small stature in a much larger system
The freedom
to heal in this room
and exit to safety
overwhelms me.

We are reaching
We are reading
We have not forgotten.
We are not numb to their Novocain
We’ve memorized the incision sites
The knife is rusted
And we are exam room thorough in our analysis tonight.

Despite the monuments to the Confederacy on my campus,
The coming out parties for the homophobia of my hometown,
The history being smuggled out of Arizona,
The fear of brown lips potentially pronouncing the new official language of our states,
The careless jokes about rape,
Despite the attempts,
We are not impressed by their commitment to chaos.
48 years later, affirmative action being contested and the Nation slut-shaming sisters into submission,
There is plenty to be angry about.

You would have loved our poems.
We couldn’t leave you room-spinning, body stolen like that.
The floorboards of this space carry more than our weight.

I wanted to tell you and show you so many things. The surprise caught in my chest when I read the plaque commemorating you. You are gold on a wall. You are a spirit in the claps of poets. You are magnificent and you were not silenced. We continue you. A black woman was the first griot to become vessel onstage this eve. I believe you know that. You saw it. Us believing. For a minute, for a moment, in defying. Revolutions are an unsustainable resource. But we came from them, from their image, and if that’s as far back as I can trace myself I’ll be fine with that, knowing this is how we go from here. How we build and splatter and stumble and weep and speak like this. Like the stories of sweat inside closed fists. We are breathing for you, now that you can’t. We chant poems like prayers and praise a black man crying onstage, a gay man redefining a Bible’s page, we rock and shout and stomp and fall out of our frames finding you in the spaces between our seats. We be anything but meek.

And I’m tempted to say we need you,
but you never really left us,
did you?

We were wrong to miss you
to choose to grieve
when this whole time,
you were standing inside our cheeks
waiting to speak.

a few things

just got back to my dorm from a week of amazing poetry at CUPSI in new york city. still unpacking and processing, but photos and recaps will be posted soon, along with the rest of the 30/30 poems. yeaaaaaa

edit: oh, and UT Austin (Spitshine) placed 18th out of 59 teams, missing semis by 3 spots, right behind Harvard and Yale. We got the sacrifice spot at the second semis bout. We also won the “Spirit of the Slam” award, given to the team that best represents the encouragement and love that makes slam folks family. that win felt good. 

also, mad props to UC Berkeley and Jade Cho for killing it in all of their bouts, bringing stellar poetry, and being the example. swag.