First Friday: Slam Poetry Competition
March 7th, 2014 at 7 PM (Reception at 6:30 for registered guests)
After last year’s fantastic Slam Poetry Competition, the audience begged us to host another one and we are more than happy to oblige. Eleven high school students with a talent and passion for the spoken word will take the stage and perform their original work for the audience and three fierce judges. The brilliant Jazz Hudson will grace us with her emceeing skills, ensuring this is a night you won’t want to miss. Registration highly recommended. Register to attend the event here. Open to adults and high school students only.
The Details (for competing poets)
Where: March 7th, 2014, 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.
Slam Format: We have room for 11 poets/contestants. Each poet will perform in the first round. After each poet performs, the judges will give him/her a score. 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.
Requirements: Contestants must be high school students. Each contestant must be available on Friday March 7th, 2014 from 6-10 PM for the competition AND Saturday, February 8th from 2-3 PM for a walk-through. (If you missed the walk-through, but would still like to compete, you MUST email Katie at email@example.com).
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 WILL NOT be allowed (this is different from last year), so you must memorize your work.
Registration: Registration to compete in the event is closed. Register to attend the event here.
- Grand Prize: iPad Mini
- Second Place: $50 Gift Certificate to Sol Food
- Third Place: $25 Equator Coffee
Slam Poetry FAQs
What is slam poetry?
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.
What is a poetry slam?
A poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer 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.
What are the rules?
Though rules vary from slam to slam, 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.
- The scores the poet receives from the three judges will be averaged, leaving the poet with a score between 0-30.
How does a Slam differ from an open mike reading?
Slam is engineered for the audience, whereas a number of open mike readings are engineered as a support network for poets. Slam is designed for the audience to react vocally and openly to all aspects of the show, including the poet’s performance, the judges’ scores, and the host’s banter.
What can the audience do?
The audience is encouraged to respond to the poets or the judges in any way they see fit, and most slams have adopted that guideline. Audiences can boo or cheer at the conclusion of a poem, or even during a poem.
At the Uptown Slam at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern, where poetry slam was born, the audience is instructed on an established progression of reactions if they don’t like a poet, including finger snapping, foot stomping, and various verbal exhortations. If the audience expresses a certain level of dissatisfaction with the poet, the poet leaves the stage, even if he or she hasn’t finished the performance. Though not every slam is as exacting in its procedure for getting a poet off the stage, the vast majority of slams give their audience the freedom and the permission to express itself.
What kind of poetry is read at slams?
Depends on the venue, depends on the poets, depends on the slam. One of the best things about poetry slam is the range of poets it attracts. You’ll find a diverse range of work within slam, including heartfelt love poetry, searing social commentary, uproarious comic routines, and bittersweet personal confessional pieces. Poets are free to do work in any style on any subject.
How did poetry slam start?
In 1984, construction worker and poet Marc Smith started a poetry reading at a Chicago jazz club, the Get Me High lounge, looking for a way to breathe life into the open mike format. The series, and its emphasis on performance, laid the groundwork for the brand of poetry that would eventually be exhibited in slam.
In 1986, Smith approached Dave Jemilo, the owner of the Green Mill (a Chicago jazz club and former haunt of Al Capone), with a plan to host a weekly poetry competition on Sunday nights. Jemilo welcomed him, and the Uptown Poetry Slam was born on July 25th of that year. Smith drew on baseball and bridge terminology for the name, and instituted the basic features of the competition, including judges chosen from the audience and cash prizes for the winner. The Green Mill evolved into a Mecca for performance poets, and the Uptown Poetry Slam continues to run every Sunday night.
FAQ’s adapted from: http://www.poetryslam.com/