Our immediate slamily, along with their coach, Morgan Hill ’14 (second from left).
(Not pictured: Randyl Wilkerson ’12, desperately missed at this moment.)
Wesleyan has taken 1st place at the Wade-Lewis Poetry Slam Invitational at SUNY New Paltz. An account follows.
The first night of WLPSI (Friday, March 5th) saw Wesleyan competing against NYU and UMinn-Macalester, and the finals (Saturday, March 6th) saw Wes competing against Brown, SUNY Oneonta, and UMinn-Macalester.
But on Saturday night, there was a tie between the final two teams. Just as shocking? One of the teams, University of Minnesota, is a veteran, well established in the slam world since its inception, while the other, Wesleyan, is a bouncing baby ze, having only started this year.
Because the tie was, of course, unexpected, the final slam went into overtime to the point that our slammers were no longer allowed to stay in the building. At the behest of Andrea Gibson, renowned poet and slammaster extraordinaire, the competition was promptly “taken outside.”
To break the tie, each team was to send up one representative. UMinn-Macalester sent up Michael “Beast” Lee ’12 and Wesleyan sent up Michael “Beast” Rosen ’11. (It is purported by anonymous sources that, prior to spitting, the two poets bonded over their shared first and middle names.) In the end, according to a unanimous vote from the judges, Wesleyan ended up beating Minnesota, taking 1st place. Go Wes!
To say we are proud would be an understatement.
The team members had some things to say:
Emily Weitzman ’14:
It was amazing that we won the whole thing, especially being a new team, but the experience with the poets is what really made it all worth it. The weekend was a whirlwind of emotions and very intense at times, but in the end, we all came out of it as one big family.
Nick Petrie ’12:
The most exciting thing about the weekend was the level of camaraderie and love we forged with other teams and poets. As a new, and not particularly competitive team, we went in with a mind set that we just wanted to speak our piece, hear what everyone else had to say, and enjoy the poetry. It came as a surprise to all of us that we did so well, and I don’t think we would have been able to do it without the support of other teams, especially SUNY Oneonta, with whom we had joint practice and who really supported us when we were up there performing.
Randyl Wilkerson ’12:
This is the community I’ve been looking for since I came out to the east coast. It’s a place filled with people that may not have been heard before, that embrace our own voice and style. It’s beautiful. It’s love. An instant community. I am still ecstatic, and can’t wait to see everyone again. This weekend was why I do what I do.
Michael Rosen ’11:
None of us went to New Paltz with “winning” in mind; it’s just not what we were focused on. As we were coming together as a family, we were also coming into our own within the slam community at large. It was a rush to meet and hang out with so many cool people and fantastic poets, and I’m so jealous of everyone who doesn’t have to graduate this year.
Nate Mondschein ’12:
Best word I can think of to describe the weekend is surreal. Somewhere between us tying with Minnesota, getting tossed out of the building, and pulling together a couple hundred people for a sudden death round outside in the courtyard, it felt like I was in the end of Step Up 2. Except with less dancing and sexy outfits, and more poems and layers of clothing. But the same general idea. Every single team was fucking incredible. I’m still a bit shell shocked. One of the most amazing experiences of my life. And I know it sounds ridiculous to say that about a poetry competition, but it’s totally true.
Please give it up for all members of the team:
- Nate Mondschein ’12
- Nick Petrie ’12
- Michael Rosen ’11
- Josh Smith ’11
- Emily Weitzman ’14
- Randyl Wilkerson ’12
And give it up for all other teams that competed:
- SUNY Geneseo
- SUNY New Paltz
- SUNY Oneonta
- UMinn & Macalester