What is poetry slam?
Simply put, poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. In competition, the poets are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organiser selects the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or one to 10 scale) based on the poets’ content and performance.
Who gets to participate?
The Sandford Festival Poetry Slam is open to everyone who wishes to sign up and can get into the venue. Though everyone who signs up has the opportunity to read in the first round, the lineup for subsequent rounds is determined by the judges’ scores. In other words, the judges vote for which poets they want to see more work from.
What are the rules?
The basic rules are:
- Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction;
- 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.
- The poet may not use props, costumes or musical instruments;
- 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.
- The key rule in slam is that judges are selected from the audience, and those scores are used to determine who advances.