What is a Poetry Slam?

The Basics

A Poetry Slam is a competitive show in which poetry is judged by randomly selected members of the audience. There is no such thing as “Slam Poetry” only the poetry slam.

All forms, styles and genres of poetry are welcome on our stage.

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The Finalists from the 2015 Peterborough Independent Slam Finals (from left to right: Ziy von B, Sasha, Wes Ryan, Danny Tarro).

Each poet is given two chances to impress the judges who will score them out of 10 (with up to one decimal point). The highest and lowest scores for each poet in each round are dropped giving them a total score for the round out of 30 points.  Spots are drawn at random and the order is reversed in the second round to help stave off the scourge of score creep (damn you score creep!!!).

The Rules

  1. There is a time limit of 3:00 minutes per piece, with a 10 second grace period.  Half a point will be deducted from the poets score in the round for each 10 seconds over 3:00 minutes and for each additional 10 seconds after that.
  2. No props, animal acts, musical accompaniment or nudity (boooo!) is aloud.
  3. Service animals and assistive or adaptive devices are aloud and encouraged!
  4. All pieces must be original.  Poets can sample and rif on other work, but the majority of the piece must be their own words.
  5. Team pieces are aloud during regular slams, but not for finals.
  6. In the end, the points are not the point; the poetry is the point!

NOTE: To qualify for a spot on either the Peterborough Slam Team and travel with the team to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) or to represent Peterborough at the Canadian Independent Poetry Slam Championship (CIPS), you need to have slammed at least twice in the preceding season or be a primary organizer of the slam and have slammed at least once in the preceding season. You must also live in the Nogojiwanong- Peterborough area for the majority of the year.  More info on qualification and eligibility will be available shortly.

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