Slam Poetry Week


Participate in slam poetry workshops, attend a slam poetry performance by Sarah Ogutsu and Donte Collins, and enter the St. Thomas slam poetry contest!

Date & Time:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
6:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday, February 14th - Friday, February 17th, 2017


Free and Open to the St. Thomas Community


Workshops: ASC 202
Performance: ASC Woulfe Hall (North)
Slam Contest: ASC Scooters

Slam Poetry Week will take place from February 14th through the 17th, and will feature poets Sarah Ogutu and Donte Collins. Ogutu and Collins will perform on Thursday, February 16th, at 6:00pm in ASC James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall (North). Dinner will be provided for those attending the performance.

Slam Poetry Week will culminate with a student slam in ASC Scooters on Friday the 19th at 5:00pm (dinner will be provided). The slam will be hosted by former St. Thomas student, Mike Mlekoday, author of The Dead Eat Everything, winner of the 2012 Wick Poetry Prize.

All St. Thomas poets are invited to compete in the slam. Poets will need two poems to perform, each one under three minutes long. The slam will consist of two rounds, with the winners receiving $150, $50, and $25 in Express dollars for first, second, and third place.

Ogutu and Collins will lead two workshops earlier in the week--both at 6 p.m. in ASC 202, with one on Tuesday the 14th and the other on Wednesday the 15th-- to help students work on their writing and delivery. Students planning to compete in the slam are encouraged to attend these workshops; they are open, however, to any student interested in learning more about performance poetry.

If you’re interested in being a part of the slam, please contact Dr. Todd Lawrence ( or Peggy Jerabek (, Program Coordinator for Student Diversity and Inclusion Services. They need to know in advance who the participants will be, so let them know if one of them will be YOU.

Slam Poetry Week is sponsored by Student Diversity & Inclusion Services, American Culture & Difference, the English Department, the Diversity Activities Board, and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

More Information about Sarah Ogutsu and Donte Collins

150X150px.Sarah Ogutu is a graduate from the University of Minnesota and is heavily involved in the local poetry scene. Check out her performance of "After the Storm" on TakeThis



150X150Donte Collins was born on May 4, 1996, in Chicago Heights, Illinois. A student at Augsburg College and author of the chapbook autopsies, Collins is the winner of the 2016 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award for his poem “what the dead know by heart.”


About the poem, judge Toi Derricotte says:

I am amazed and thrilled by the formal sophistication and the emotional maturity of this young poet. While it is brave, and necessary, to name the names and the count the wounds of the boys who have been murdered, Donte Collins goes much deeper. He captures the trembling heart of the living boy as he walks through the world in his targeted body. “what the dead know by heart” takes us beneath the armament to the fraught existence of one who wonders “if the gun that will unmake me / is yet made;” one whose survival is conditional on another’s death, “today I did / not die . . . the bullet missed my head / and landed in another.” This is a voice to be encouraged. I look forward to reading Donte Collins in the future.

Collins sits on the youth advisory board of TruArtSpeaks, a nonprofit encouraging literacy, leadership, and social justice through the study and application of spoken word and hip-hop culture and is an editor at Button Poetry, the largest distributor of spoken word poetry in the world. Collins performs across the country and has had his work featured on AfroPunk, Elephant Journal, Feminist Culture, and more.






All programs offered by the University of St. Thomas shall be readily accessible to individuals with disabilities. For details, call (651) 962-6315.