By Maya A. Weisinger

After the grand accomplishment of winning the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at the University of Michigan last year, MacSlams is gearing up to take lead again. On April 18 the team will set out to Los Angeles to compete in this year’s competition. This will mark the third year Macalester has sent a team to the national competition. The last two years have proved that Macalester has more spark than the average rookie team. The CUPSI competition this year will be the largest competition to date, with 48 schools competing compared to only 37 last year. No team has ever won the tournament two years in a row and MacSlams has a high chance of making history. The team consists of Dylan Garity ’12 and Niko Martell ’13, both returning from the last two years, as well as new members Anna Binkovitz ’14, Abbie Shain ’14, Rachel Rostad ’15, and Kat Fleckenstein ’14. They are being coached by National Poetry Slam champion Sam Cook, as well as recent graduate Neil Hilborn ’11. MacSlams has hosted a poetry slam in 10k every month since the spring of 2009 when Garity founded the org. This Saturday will be the final slam of the year, also denoting the final slam that Garity will be running at Macalester. After MacSlams Garity intends to continue his involvement with the adult national slam scene, as well as the local twin cities scene. Last summer, he was on the Minneapolis team at the National Poetry Slam in Boston, where the team came in fifth place out of over 75 cities competing. “I hope to continue to help build the local slams in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, which are some of the best poetry shows in the nation,” Garity said. Early MacSlams’ shows would draw around 40 to 50 audience members, which is in vast contrast to the full house they now draw every month. “I had no idea how the campus would respond, and it’s been amazing seeing the slam grow over the last three years into one of the most popular regular events on campus,” Garity said. “We’re one of the most prominent names on the national scene as well, which gives us the opportunity to bring in poets from all over the country to feature at our shows.” Alongside preparing for their own competitions and campus-hosted slams, the group is also focused on promoting the art of slam poetry in different venues besides performance. “I hope that the slam will continue many years into the future, and continue to build its reputation as not only a fundamental part of the Macalester artistic community, but the national community as well. We want to expand our workshop program so that we offer regular writing and performance workshops throughout the entire year, with members of the team as well as poets from the larger Twin Cities community. Basically, we want to provide great opportunities for as many student writers as possible going forward,” Garity said. The last poetry slam of the year will be this Saturday at 8:00 PM in 10K. It will be hosted by Neil Hilborn, and will be featuring poetry from Sam Cook. refresh –>