• What is a poetry slam?

    A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It combines the elements of performance, writing, competition and audience participation. It puts an equal emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. During a slam, poets are judged by audience members on a scale of 1-10.

    Slam poetry originated in the 1980s in Chicago, Illinois. Local poet and construction worker Marc Kelly Smith felt that poetry and poetry readings were too stuffy for those outside academia. He created the poetry slam as a way to bring poetry to a larger segment of the population.

    Main Event:

    • In order to be eligible for the main event, performers must audition at the school they attend. The top three performers will move on.
    • Remember to have fun and practice, practice, practice! It takes some skill and a lot of luck to win a poetry slam. Who knows how the judges and audience will react?
    • While there’s no set formula to winning, you will become a better poet and performer no matter the outcome!

    Rules for performers:

    • The slam is open to all SPS students.
    • Poems must be an original work and memorized by the performer(s).
    • Original poems can be on any subject appropriate for all ages and in any style.
    • Recitations are not to exceed a three-minute limit (with a 10-second grace period); if they do, points are deducted.
    • Of the scores the poet received from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30.
    • No props, costumes, or musical instruments may be used when performing the poem (but the poet is allowed to sing, clap, hum, or make noise with the mouth or other body parts).
    • Poets may perform on their own or in a group with other poets.
    • Heckling or disrupting other performances results in disqualification.
    • Performers will be judged on quality of the message and effectiveness of the performance.

    Rules for judges:

    • Five judges will be selected at random from the audience (no experience necessary).
    • Judges must be fair, consistent and not mark their friends higher.
    • Judges award marks for poem and performance (5 for poem, 5 for performance).

    Important Dates

    Friday, February 8th - Informational meeting in room 300

    Tuesday, February 12th - SHS theater students visit during Advisory.

    Wednesday, April 3rd - Poetry Slam Event after school. Location TBD

    Thursday, April 25th - Main Event at SHS! 6:30-8:30 pm

    Poetry slam videos

    Poetry related information

    Kids Poetry Slam- LEAP 2014

    Poetry 4 Kids

    Verse vs Verse Poetry Slam 2018 (younger students)

    Poems for Kids – Poetry.org

    Last Word Festival 2018 – Honey Birch

    Poetry Out Loud

    If You Give a Child a Word

     Vocabulary Battle - fun poetry skills game




    Rubrics - Official slam rubric TBD.