UST grad makes Minneapolis slam team heading to nationals

UST grad makes Minneapolis poetry slam team heading to nationals

From Lisa Arnold, Theater Department

Riley Lang, who helped start the spoken word group PSST (Poetry Slam St. Thomas) in 2003, won a spot on the Minneapolis poetry slam nationals team this week at Kieran's in downtown Minneapolis.

Lang and three others will go to Austin, Texas, this summer to compete against 75 teams from other cities across the United States. He competed at the National College Poetry Slam in Austin in 2006 and helped coach the UST team at the national competition this year in Eastern Michigan, where UST placed eighth. Jenn Parks, Ryan Kopperud and Stephen Johansson completed this year's college national team.

Other UST poets also made it to finals at Kieran's: Mike Mlekoday, who competed at college nationals this year, and Heather Poliseno, who also helped start the group and competed at nationals last year. After graduating from St. Thomas, Poliseno co-coached the team with Lang this year.

Mlekoday and Ryan Kopperud (who was also on the 2006 UST College Nationals Team) have made it to finals for the St. Paul team-selection slam. They'll compete in two weeks at the Artist's Quarter in downtown St. Paul to see who makes that team going to nationals.

St. Thomas students not only are making a name for themselves and St. Thomas locally but they also are putting the university on the spoken-word map around the country. Many UST poets travel, perform and compete regionally. They organize spoken-word events on campus and go into other schools and give workshops. In just a few years, PSST has become a path for students to pursue poetry and spoken word as amateurs and professionals.

Congratulations to PSST and its poets!