April 11: Samantha Slupski uses poetry to process trauma

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When you listen to Samantha Slupski's work, she takes you on a journey through her life.

For her, poetry isn't just words on a page. She says it's how she processes trauma.

The well-known poet was not only abused as a child but also suffers from mental illness. Now, she uses her voice to make sure women and those suffering from mental illness never feel isolated.

"We often feel very silenced and I think that poetry is awesome because it can bring those stories to light and have other people relate," Slupski said.

Slupski has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember but says she too remained silent until a friend encouraged her to get on stage and share her story.

"I found an open mic at Uptown Arts Bar and he was like, 'Go read.' I did and I haven't stopped going since," Slupski said.

That moment was almost three years ago.

Today, she stands unashamed of her background, admitting she grew up in a household where both of her parents also suffered from mental illness.

"It was almost like I was raised into it," said Slupski. "I'm not necessarily proud of it, but it's definitely something I think is important to talk about because it is part of my story and part of my history."

Slupski believes poetry is the genre of art that allows for the most conversation, something she says is necessary to break the stigma and bring awareness to what others go through.

"We get isolated in ourselves," said Slupski. "We feel like our narrative is not important and I want to get people to understand that their narrative is important."

Slupski even alludes to a painful time in her childhood. She was abused at nine years old and says her mother didn't believe her.

Recently, she spoke out about that experience with a poem titled, "Me Too," a piece inspired by the #MeToo movement. She joined thousands of women, using their voices to discuss cases of sexual misconduct and assault they've experienced throughout their lives.




"People come up to me and they're like, 'I did not know that anyone else felt that way' and that's super powerful to me," said Slupski. There are so many times that I felt alone and it was just me and the page and that was it."

Slupski is the slam master for the Pound Poetry Slam in Kansas City, Mo and the executive director for Poetic Underground.

She's currently on a nine-city tour. You can hear more of her work on her website

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 41 Action News.

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