Our slam “season” starts in October and goes monthly until our Grand Slam Finals in April. Slams are open to all poets in the Cumberland County and surrounding areas ages 13-19 (can’t turn 20 before July 28th of that season). Our slams have a max limit of 15 poets and are first come, first serve. To sign up for our slam, head to Participate.

Our slams follow the standard “Youth Individual Slam” rules with three rounds (except for our Group Slam which has four) of poetry. Here are our rules:

  1. Time limit of 3 minutes and 30 seconds with 10 second grade period (.1 points are taken off score for every second it goes over).
  2. All topics are allowed unless they promote the hatred, discrimination, or violence of any race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or culture.
  3. No props of any kind are allowed.
  4. Poems MUST be original as a poet will be disqualified if it is found they plagiarized.
  5. Scores will be announced unless there are special circumstances decided by the Slam host and MC.
  6. Slams will be judged by 5 select or random judges who will give a score from 1-10. The lowest and highest scores will be dropped with the three middle scores being added up.
  7. All slams are cumulative, meaning scores from all rounds will be tallied up to determine the winner.

Judges are pre-selected to ensure there is no bias. If you are interested in being a judge, please contact us.

All slams are great practice for our poets and give them points towards qualifying for our Grand Slam Finals to determine our competition team (see How to Qualify for details). Poets who earn 16 points, with at least 4 points from our Slams category, earn a spot in our finals. Poets (the number TBD by organization directors) who win or place in (also TBD) our Last Chance Slam also earn a spot in our finals.

The Slams points awards for participating are as follows:

Individual Slams

  • First Place- 5 points
  • Second Place- 4 points
  • Third Place- 3 points
  • Fourth Place- 2 points
  • Fifth Place- 1 point
  • Participating- .5 point

Group Slam

  • First Place- 4 points
  • Second Place- 3 points
  • Third Place- 2 points
  • Participating- 1 point