Finally, two spots are always left open for walk-ons that arrive on the day of the event. These walk-ons can be people who believe they have a shot at a spot on the CUPSI team, whether a member of the Wordsmiths or not.
Twelve poets will perform in three rounds on Friday night to determine the final five poets for the national team. Last year, UNC’s team made it to the semi-finals of the CUPSI competition.
First-year Lauranna Masters first got involved through Fall Fest, becoming the club's treasurer and joining the management team without intending to perform herself. Masters said that after a little thought, she decided to share her own poetry, as well.
“I was like, you know what, I’ve got some poems that I think will do alright,” Masters said.
Masters said students should come out to Grand Slam 2019 because it is not often that they get to hear spoken-word poetry on campus. Masters said the poems really take advantage of the freedom of expression provided by the art form and are full of topics that are important to UNC students .
Freedom is what Bonds said she enjoys most about the process.
“I love that there are a lot less rules when it comes to spoken-word poetry,” Bonds said. “I love that it’s really rooted in this idea of storytelling. I was really in love with (written) poetry first, so slam is another instrument I can pull out of my toolbox when it comes to sharing my poetry with a greater audience.”
The Wordsmiths will be reopening auditions for the group next fall for any who want to give slam poetry a shot.
Senior Brooke Fisher said she does not think she will give slam a try, but she loves hearing spoken word poetry and supporting her friends involved in Wordsmiths.
Fisher plans to attend the event Friday night and said she is looking forward to seeing who makes the CUPSI team. Although Fisher likes to “leave the slamming to other people,” she said she would encourage others to at least go hear the Wordsmiths to potentially be inspired.
“I think that if people are interested in supporting the Wordsmiths, they should definitely go to this event and their workshops — even try it out themselves,” Fisher said. “Even if they don’t see themselves as poets, I think that it’s a great way to write down your feelings in a cathartic way.”
Fisher said her favorite part of slam competitions is the way the poet and audience form a bond.
“When you go, it’s a really interactive event,” Fisher said. “They want people in the audience to react to what they are doing by snapping or giving a hoot. Just something to really show that they are really listening to what the poets have to say. It’s a really fun event — especially if you’ve never gone to one before. It’s a great way to go and hear the ways people put the struggles of their own life into writing.”