Preliminary 1 (May 13) – 16 teams

  • 4 preliminary bouts with 4 teams competing in each bout
  • 5 rounds: 3 or 4 individual performances and 1 or 2 team performances


Preliminary 2 (May 14) – 16 teams

  • 4 preliminary bouts with 4 teams competing in each bout
  • 5 rounds: 3 or 4 individual performances and 1 or 2 team performances



Teams in each preliminary bout will earn points based on their placement relative to each other.

  • 1st place
    • highest combined score for 5 performances in bout
    • 10 points
  • 2nd place
    • second highest combined score for 5 performances in bout
    • 6 points
  • 3rd place
    • third highest combined score for 5 performances in bout
    • 4 points
  • 4th place
    • fourth highest combined score for 5 performances in bout
    • 2 points


The top 4 teams based on the combined points earned during Preliminary 1 and 2 will advance to finals.



Finals (May 14 – Ernest Manning High School) – 4 teams

  • 5 rounds: 3 or 4 individual performances and 1 or 2 team performances


* It is expected that, as much as possible, all poets and teams will stay to support the other poets and teams during subsequent bouts.






  • Schools are responsible for completing off-site activity approval forms and for arranging transportation of their teams to and from the event(s).
  • Maximum of six members per team (+ 2 alternates – optional)
  • Participants must be enrolled in a high school for the year of the competition and must be in good academic standing (not on suspension or subject to other disciplinary action).
  • Teams must be sponsored by a school and have a teacher sponsor, or by a writing club and have a club organizer, present at the event in order to participate.
  • If you register and find out later that you will not be able to attend, please notify organizers ASAP so that an alternate team may have the chance to participate in the slam.
  • Teacher-sponsors/club organizers must attend the information session held prior to the slam. Non-attendance may result in disqualification. Notify organizers as soon as possible about an absence.
  • Participants must be physically present and checked in at least 30 minutes before their bouts begin. Arriving after the scheduled bout time will result in disqualification for the team.




  • All members of the team performing a group piece must contribute to the writing of the poem being performed.
  • Each poem must be under 3 minutes in length. Scores will be penalized for going over the time limit. Penalties will begin at 3:10, with a 0.5 point deduction for every ten seconds overtime. Poets will be asked to leave the stage if they reach 4:10.
  • Participants must perform pieces of their own original writing. Participants who plagiarize may be disqualified and given a mark of 0.0. Incidents of plagiarism will be discussed and penalties will be decided by team coaches, The Law, and the Slam Marshals. Quoting other works and using literary allusions are not considered plagiarism.
  • Props, costumes, and/or musical accompaniment may not be used in the slam. Singing or beatboxing may be used to enhance the piece, but should not be the primary focus of the piece. This is neither a singing nor a beatboxing competition.
  • It is the responsibility of the teacher-sponsor to ensure that all poems and performances are appropriate for the event. Teams with performances using discriminatory or derogatory language intended to humiliate, degrade, or otherwise inflict harm on people  will result in the performance being given a mark of 0.0 OR disqualification of the team the performer is representing.
  • The Slam Marshal may choose to stop a performance if the expectations regarding appropriate content are repeatedly ignored. The decision to stop performances is at the discretion of the Slam Marshal. Penalties and/or disqualification of a poet or team will be done in consultation with the Slam Marshal, event organizers, and the coaches of the teams participating in the bout.
  • Determining content infractions is the responsibility of The Law.
  • All complaints regarding possible rule infractions must be lodged with the Site Organizer before the end of the day on which the possible infraction occurred. The Slam Marshal, The Law, and the Site Organizer will review the complaint with the rest of the coaches before making a decision regarding potential consequences. The decision will be presented to the affected individuals as soon as possible.




  • A panel of artists, educators, youth and/or audience members will judge each bout. Judges will be in no way be affiliated with the teams competing. Teams may challenge the choice of judge with the Site Organizer if unfairness is anticipated or perceived.


  • Each team must be accompanied to events by a teacher sponsor or club organizer, having completed all appropriate paperwork including any necessary off-site activity approval forms as well as a registration form.
  • Teams are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from events.
  • Only one team per school is allowed to compete.
  • Each team must have a minimum of four and a maximum of six poets, with up to two additional alternates.
  • Teams must send the same poets (alternates included) whose names are on the form submitted on March 25, 2016, unless the organizers are otherwise notified before the first bout, after which only registered team members may compete. If a registered team member cannot compete after the competition has started, only a registered alternate may serve as a replacement.
  • There are five rounds in each team bout. Individual and group pieces can performed in any order during the rounds that a coach desires, but at least one and no more than two performances must be a group piece.
  • Teams cannot repeat poems in subsequent rounds. Therefore, each team must prepare a minimum of 4 individual performances and 1 team performance, up to a maximum of 6 to 8 individual and 2 to 4 team performances.
  • Each poet can only perform one individual piece in each bout (unless the team has less than 4 members).
  • While the entire team may contribute to the writing of a group piece, all group piece performers must have been involved in the writing of that piece and all group pieces must be performed by at least 2 poets.




  • Can You Hear Me Now? Champions – decided by judges and awarded to the team that wins the completion


  • Best Group Performance – decided by judges and coaches, and awarded to the best single group poem performed during the competition


  • Best Solo Performance – decided by judges and coaches, awarded to the best solo performer from the competition


  • Poet’s Choice Award –awarded to the best individual poet as decided by his or her peers (fellow poets)


  • Spirit of the Slam Award – chosen by coaches and awarded to the poet demonstrating the best sportsmanship, community spirit, and attitude throughout the competition

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