Poetry Slam on Love and Respect Spotlighting Sexual Assault Awareness

Friday, April 24, 2015

Negrotto's Gallery
2645 Executive Place
Biloxi, MS

Doors open 6pm; Open mic for spoken word or poetry reading at 6:30pm; Slam begins 7pm

Featuring Sean Pittman– poetry in motion
Host Artis Romero of WJZD 94.5
DJ Greg Barabino

Adult event
$10 entry fee at the door
Refreshments served
Business casual attire

Rules for slam:

What is a poetry slam?

The following questions and answers have been adapted from www.poetryslam.com:

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.

A poetry slam is an event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer select the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or one to 10 scale) based on the poet’s content and performance.

What are the rules?

Though rules vary from slam to slam, the basic rules are:

How does it differ from an open mic reading?

Slam is engineered for the audience, whereas a number of open-mic 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.

An open mic is an open space in which all kinds of poetry can be heard. It provides a venue for new poets to read, gives poets a chance to try out new work and get feedback, and creates community. A slam is an inherently competitive event, in which performance is valued equally to literary skill. It is also a participatory event, with the audience serving as judges and sometimes giving instant feedback in the form of boos or cheers.

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 a 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 do you judge?

Part of the purpose of the slam is to empower the audience to hear and evaluate poetry. Judges may use any criteria they wish. Theoretically, they should value the performance and the writing equally. They can take audience reaction into account, or not (remembering that, with a quiet poem, a hush is as loud as a cheer for a raucous poem). Their obligation is to judge fairly and consistently, giving the highest scores to (in their opinion) the best poems.

In choosing your judges, try to select a diverse cross-section from the audience, and try to select people you feel confident will be fair. It’s ok to choose a judge who has never been to a poetry reading before—their opinion is valid too! You might try to find someone quiet and someone loud, someone new and someone seasoned, some poets and some people who have never written.

For the official rules of the National Poetry Slam, go to www.poetryslam.com/nps/rules.htm. In particular, the section titled “So You’ve Been Chosen to Judge a Poetry Slam” at the end may be helpful.

With these rules as a starting place, you can set up your slam in whatever way you think best suits your audience. Many slams begin with a pacesetter, or “sacrificial goat”—a poet who is not competing, who performs a single poem. The judges are asked to use this poem as their standard for judging the others, to help keep their judging even over the course of the competition. Make sure each judge has a clear understanding of their job and encourage them to return their scores quickly—within about a minute—so that the energy of the event doesn’t falter. You may want to ask your judges to hold up their scores all at once, so that they don’t influence each other. Once a score is up, the judge can’t change their mind!

It’s up to you to decide how many poets compete in each round, and how many rounds will be in the slam.