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Poetry Slam Resources: Home

Spoken word poetry resources

Sarah Kay on Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word poetry is the art of performance poetry. I tell people it involves creating poetry that doesn't just want to sit on paper, that something about it demands it be heard out loud or witnessed in person.

Poetry Slam Rules

  • Under three minutes
  • Memorized
  • Original Poem

How To's: Spoken Word Poetry

Poetry Slam Groups

A Poem a Day

Poetry Slam Videos


Rubrics - Official slam rubric TBD.

Button Poetry (Spoken Word Poetry Example)

Learn from the Amazing Ms. Suzy Brooks, MASCD President (thanks, Suzy, for permission to share!)

SEF Sponsored District Wide Poetry Slam


The SEF District Wide Poetry Slam offers students the opportunity to use their voice through the genre of performance poetry. Performance poetry, also known as spoken word poetry, is an art specifically geared toward a visual audience. The term became popular in the 1980s to describe poetry composed for performance versus print. There is a continued need for all students to explore areas of creativity in which their voices are validated and celebrated.  Performance poetry is a unique venue that provides a way in which students can communicate and feel connected with their peers and the wider school community. Our Poetry Slam events promise to be a fun and meaningful way for students to develop performance skills and to creatively express themselves! Thank you, Sharon Education Foundation, for grant funding this year!

What is a poetry slam?

A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It combines the elements of performance, writing, competition and audience participation. It puts an equal emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. During a slam, poets are judged by audience members on a scale of 1-10.

Main Event:

  • In order to be eligible for the main event, performers must audition at the school they attend. The top three performers will move on. 
  • Remember to have fun and practice, practice, practice! It takes some skill and a lot of luck to win a poetry slam. Who knows how the judges and audience will react?
  • While there’s no set formula to winning, you will become a better poet and performer no matter the outcome!

Rules for performers:

  • The slam is open to all SPS students. 
  • Poems must be an original work and memorized by the performer(s). 
  • Original poems can be on any subject appropriate for all ages and in any style.
  • Recitations are not to exceed a three-minute limit (with a 10-second grace period); if they do, points are deducted.
  • Of the scores the poet received from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30.
  • No props, costumes, or musical instruments may be used when performing the poem (but the poet is allowed to sing, clap, hum, or make noise with the mouth or other body parts). 
  • Poets may perform on their own or in a group with other poets.
  • Heckling or disrupting other performances results in disqualification.
  • Performers will be judged on quality of the message and effectiveness of the performance.

Rules for judges:

  • Five judges will be selected at random from the audience (no experience necessary). 
  • Judges must be fair, consistent and not mark their friends higher.
  • Judges award marks for poem and performance (5 for poem, 5 for performance).

Thursday, April 25th - Main Event at SHS! 6:30-8:30 pm