2017 CUPSI Semifinals and Finals

Core Competencies: Communications, Intercultural Proficiency, Student Learning
April 12 – April 15, 2017
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago

Preliminary Bouts Information

CUPSI check-in, Preliminary Bouts, and Open Mics will be held in UIC Student Center East  (SCE) on Wednesday, April 12 and Thursday, April 13, 2017. All preliminary bouts will be open to the public to attend.


UIC Student Center East (SCE)
750 S. Halsted Street (intersection of Halsted & Polk streets)
Chicago, IL 60607

See Campus Map for more info. Check-in on the 2nd Floor, near the Inner Circle Food Court.


CUPSI Semifinals will be held at the UIC Forum on Friday, April 13th  and will be open for the public to attend as spectators.

Parking for SCE is available at:

Halsted/Taylor Parking Structure
760 W. Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Parking structure entrances are available at the intersections of Taylor & Halsted, or Halsted & Polk streets (across the street from SCE). Full day rate (over 8 hours) is $11.50. Evening rate (after 3:30 P.M.) is $8.50. See Parking Map for more info.

Semifinals and Finals Information

Finals will be held at the UIC Forum on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. (doors open at 6:00 P.M.) Finals will require a ticket to attend, but tickets are free to the public. 


UIC Forum
725 W. Roosevelt Rd.
Chicago, IL 60607

See Campus Map for more info.


Ample parking for the UIC Forum is available in two locations:

Maxwell Street Parking Structure (garage)
701 W. Maxwell Street
Chicago, IL 60607

UIC Parking Lot 5 (surface lot, two block west of UIC Forum)
1135 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Full day rate (over 8 hours) is $11.50. Evening rate (after 3:30PM) is $8.50. See Parking Map for more info.


Advanced tickets can be picked up at the UIC Bookstore in Student Center East (750 S. Halsted Street, 1st floor) starting April 1st – April 14th during regular business hours. On the day of Finals, tickets can be purchased at the UIC Forum when doors open at 6:00 P.M. 

Finals Performer

Marc Smith

 Marc Smith

Marc Smith is creator/founder of the international Poetry Slam movement. As stated in the PBS television series, The United States of Poetry, a “strand of new poetry began at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern in 1987 when Marc Smith found a home for the Poetry Slam.” Since then, performance poetry has spread throughout the world exported to more than 1000 cities large and small.

Chalking up more than 2,000 performances in nightclubs, concert halls, libraries, universities, and on top of the occasional hot dog stand, Smith continues to host and perform every Sunday night at the Green Mill to standing room only crowds. He has staged a multitude of poetry related productions including Chicago’s 1991, 1999, and 2002 National Poetry Slams, Slam Dunk Poetry Day at Chicago’s Field Museum, Summer Solstice Poetry Shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Poetry Hot Dog Cart for Chicago’s 2005 “Stirring Things Up Festival”, Looptopia 2007, and numerous high school and college events.

He currently guides and directs Chicago’s Speak’Easy Ensemble, an innovative performance poetry troupe. He counseled and collaborated with Mark Eleveld to create Spoken Word Revolution volume one and Spoken Word Revolution Redux, two of the most important and best-selling book/CD anthologies of spoken word artists and performance poets.

Finals Host

J.W. Basilo
Chicago Slam Works, Executive Director

J.W. Basilo

Prior to being appointed to his current position, Basilo was hired and served for a year as Chicago Slam Works’s artistic director in 2011 after established himself as one of Chicago’s premier performance poets and among the most active teaching artists in the field. After becoming a fixture at the Uptown Poetry Slam in 2005, Basilo has called performance poetry a full-time living since 2007. He has coached teams for “Louder Than a Bomb” since 2009, toured the country extensively as a performer, and represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam multiple times. Outside of CSW, Basilo continues to direct theater and is active in Chicago’s comedy, music, and storytelling communities.

Updated March 1, 2017