MACON – Point B.L.A.N.K., Mercer University's first spoken word collective, competed in the 15th annual College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) March 25-28 at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The five poets who represented Mercer included Virgenal Owens, a senior biomedical engineering major from Macon; Ryan Jones, a senior environmental engineering major from Snellville; Micheline Dieujuste-Antoine, a junior biology major from Irvington, New Jersey; Afrika Hamilton, a junior psychology major from Macon; and Avery Braxton, a freshman journalism major from Peachtree City.
The event was the first poetry slam for Point B.L.A.N.K. as an organization as well as the first for several of the students.
Point B.L.A.N.K. placed first and second, respectively, in its first two preliminary slams before being eliminated from the competition in the semifinal slam. The team finished 20th of 68 teams from the U.S. and Canada, ahead of teams from institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Duke, Princeton and Stanford.
In the first preliminary slam, the team's best showing, Owens received a perfect score of 30 (out of 30), and Jones received a score of 29.5.
CUPSI is organized by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) each year to promote slam poetry, which is a form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive event known as a “slam.” Poets perform their own original work and are judged on a numeric scale by randomly selected members of the audience.
Point B.L.A.N.K. was founded in spring 2014 by Owens, who serves as the organization's president, and Jones, who serves as vice president. The collective focuses on the development and growth of artistry and community through spoken word. B.L.A.N.K. stands for “Believing Love and Nurturing Knowledge.”