Category Archives: Slam Poetry Competition 2016

Pictures: Teen Poetry Slam 2016

Thanks to everyone who made the 2016 Teen Poetry Slam a success! Special gratitude to Jazz Hudson–our brilliant emcee–as well as Tim Floreen, Shane Curtin, and Lalé Shafagi for bravely agreeing to the impossible task of judging these talented poets.

Most most most of all, I am so awed, inspired, and grateful for the bravery of our high school poets who made the evening absolutely unforgettable! Thank you!!

Video of the Competition to come. FGF_7118FGF_7115FGF_7114 alex_fave_FGF_7228 alex_FGF_7288 Alex_FGF_7289 ali_FGF_7319 Ali_J_FGF_7141ben_FGF_7175 ben_FGF_7183 emma_FGF_7215 emma_FGF_7223 jessie_performFGF_7210 judges_FGF_7097 judges_FGF_7234 katiejazz_FGF_7281 Megan_FGF_7302 megan_FGF_7304 Olivia_FGF_7198 olivia_FGF_7282maxine_FGF_7163maxine_FGF_7167 FGF_7131stephanie_FGF_7380sit smile_FGF_7102winpeace_FGF_7379group_FGF_7257emma and jessieFGF_7244clappy_clap_FGF_7225crowd_FGF_7352jessieandalexFGF_7381fans_FGF_7095fans_2_FGF_7092 emmapals_FGF_7245timandoliviaFGF_7391

all photos by Frank Fennema Photography

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Attend the Slam Poetry Competition on March 4th, 2016

Performance: Fri 3/4, 7 PM

Do you love the spoken word? Do you want to participate in one of Mill Valley’s most celebrated maxine-and-audience-1024x767evenings? Register to compete in the Library’s 5th Annual Teen Slam Poetry Competition!

On March 4th an audience of over 200 will fill the Mill Valley Library to hear 10 high school students (are you one of them?) perform original works of poetry. Three judges will determine who moves on to the championship round and, ultimately, win the competition. The acclaimed poet Jazz Hudson will grace us with her talent and wisdom as our emcee for the evening. Participants MUST register and communicate with Katie prior to the event on March 4th at 7 PM.

Register to attend the Poetry Slam (as an audience member, not a poet): here

What you need to know if you are performing in the Slam Poetry Competition.

Check out the video from the 2015 Slam Competition here.

What is Slam?

A slam itself is simply a poetry competition in which poets perform original work before an audience and judges (in our case three judges). The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page.

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What You Need to Know About Performing in the Slam Poetry Competition

Information for Poets about the Slam Poetry Competition at MVPL

Where: March 4th, 2016, 7:00 PM at the Mill Valley Public Library (poets must arrive no later than 6:00 PM). We’ll feed you a pizza dinner and you can use the hour to eat and prepare.

ALSO: If you haven’t performed in the Slam Poetry Competition before, you must contact Katie ( after registering. 

Slam Format/Scoring: We have room for 12 poets/contestants. Each poet will perform in the first round. After each poet performs, the judges will give him/her a score.

Poems can be up to three minutes long using: no props, no costumes, no musical accompaniment. At 3:10:01 poets start losing .5 of a point for every 10 seconds they go over after 3:10.

The three poets with the highest scores will move on to the championship round. The poet who receives the highest score in the championship round will be crowned the winner.

Each contestant should have at least two pieces of original work (less than three minutes each) ready to perform. Poems can be on any subject. Note cards may be used sparingly, but try to memorize your work. Your performance will be better for it!


  • First Prize: $100 Book Passage Gift Certificate
  • Second Prize (First Runner-up): Sol Food Gift Certificate
  • Third Prize (Second Runner-up): Equator Coffee Gift Certificate

Register to compete in the Competition here

Registration to attend (not compete in) the Competition: open to high school students and adults. Registration is highly recommended. Register here. Registration tends to fill up quickly, so make sure to let your family and friends know ASAP if they want to see you shine.

If you have not participated in a slam poetry competition before, it is a good idea to watch videos of slam performances to get an idea of how it works. I am pasting the judging rubric below, so you can see the kinds of things the judges will be considering. This is only a rough outline of how the judges score poems, much will be up to each individual judge.


Judging Rubric for Poetry Slams

Excellent (10) Good (7–9) Satisfactory (4–6) Poor (1–3)
Performance-The poet speaks clearly, projects his/her voice, has memorized his/her poem and effectively performs to the audience. The poet should speak clearly and distinctly, without mispronouncing words or stammering. Makes eye contact with audience, etc.
Poem– The poem is well crafted and demonstrates effective use of poetic language, which may include figurative language and/or rich vocabulary. The poem 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-The poet’s body movement, 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.

more you know

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