2023 Poetry Slam


1. Each solo poem must be of the poet’s own creation.
2. Poets should recite their poems from memory.
3. Each poet gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score by the scorekeeper. The poem/performance will lose .5 (point 5) off of their score for each 10 seconds they go over.
4. The poet may not use props, costumes, pre-recorded/taped music, or musical instruments while performing. It’s just you and the mic on stage. BUT you are allowed to sing or beat box or make any other sounds with your body in your performance. 4B: As far as props go…don’t write a poem about your phone and use your phone in your performance, or a poem about toques and point to your toque etc. As for costumes, you cannot change clothes during your bout. Changing your clothes for the performance of a different poem could be considered a costume change.
5. The poem may NOT include sexist, racist, homophobic, or transphobic comments. Basically, use your common sense and don’t be a jerk, and leave your hate at the gate. However, anger, upset and frustration are totally legit emotions to express in your poem, just be creative in how you go about doing it.
6. The poet receives scores out of 10 from five randomly selected judges. The high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score out of 30.
7. In the event of a tie, the top two poets face off in a final round.
8. the crowd may heckle the judges if they don’t agree with the scores a poet receives.


As a participant, I agree:

1. To revel in an environment in which freedom of speech, self-determination, and pursuit of creative excellence are inalienable rights.

2. To participate in a way that encourages, illuminates and supports established standards of good sportsmanship. To refuse to allow the competitive challenge of the slam to lead me to violence, interference, or direct threats. To allow all participants to pursue their craft peacefully and without censure, regardless of present associations or past personal history.

3. To comply with local, provincial and federal laws pertaining to individual civil rights and physical or sexual harassment.

4. To abide by competition rules, knowing that the consequences for breaking the rules exist and are upheld. Penalties will be determined by the severity of the infraction, and the ruling of the presiding emcee and, where applicable, the presiding protest committee.

5. To be a fair poet, one who in competition is fair and generous, one who in any connection has recourse to nothing illegitimate; a poet who in defeat demonstrates grace and in victory magnanimity.

Guidelines For Judging (Poetry Slam Scoring Rubric)

Poem (4 Points Possible)

The poem is well crafted and demonstrates effective use of poetic language, which may include figurative language and/or rich vocabulary.

The poem clearly conveys an idea and a point of view.

The poem captures and conveys human emotion and experience.

The poem effectively uses rhythm and sound of language.

Interpretation (2 Points Possible)

The poet’s body movements, facial expressions, and gestures are consistent with and enhance the ideas and mood of the poem.

The poet conveys energy and emotion that is consistent with and enhances the ideas and mood of the poem.

Performance (4 Points Possible)

The poet speaks clearly.

The poet projects their voice.

The poet has memorized their poem.

The poet effectively performs for the audience.