Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stay tuned for more specifics on the upcoming '09 slam season which begins Thursday, January 15 at the Solstice Cafe. In the meantime, since the slam team in Victoria is relatively new, here's how it all works.


  1. The main event consists of two crazy rounds of spoken word, starting with 10 poets. All performers must have two pieces prepared. In the event that more than 10 sign up, performers will be drawn lottery style.
  2. Poets are rated on both content and performance by five judges selected randomly from the audience. The audience is encouraged to influence the judges with applause or jeers; the poets are encouraged to influence the judges with gifts of cash.
  3. The highest and lowest scores for each poem are dropped, and the remaining three averaged. The 5 highest scoring poets progress to round two; .the top three poets walk away with whatever crappy prizes we could find around our houses or small amounts of cash depending on our mood and our bank balance.
  4. Each poem must be maximum 3 minutes. This begins the moment the poet engages the audience. There’s a 10-second grace period, after which the poet will suffer a .5 point penalty for every 10 seconds over 3:10. There is no minimum time.
  5. No props, costumes, or musical instruments. Otherwise you lose a point.
  6. Reading from the page is allowed. So is memorizing.
  7. All poems must be original. Each poem must be of the poet’s own creation. 'Riffing' is allowed but use sparingly and be prepared to defend yourself.

All styles are welcome and encouraged: acapella hip-hop, theatrical monologues, literary poetry, sound poetry, dub poetry, rants, haikus, power raps, etc. Whatever you like. Remember you’ll be judged on delivery as well as content.

Newcomers are encouraged to check out a slam before competing, but all are welcome to sign up at any slam.

While competition is a main feature of the slam, remember the points are not the point; the poetry is the point.

Audiences are encouraged to be vocal about what they like and don't like at a slam so performers should expect for a more engaged (read: louder) crowd than the ones found at our typical open mic night.

In the end, the slam is about having fun and coming out to support your local poets. The winners will go on to compete in finals and to ultimately become your Victoria Slam team for 2009. The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word will be right here in our beautiful city this year and we want to be fired up and excited about our local slam scene so we can show the rest of Canada that we don't just sit around and drink tea all of the time. (just most of the time.) To summarize, it's all going down at Solstice Cafe, every third Thursday starting in January. Be there to perform on the open mic, compete, judge, cheer, boo, get rowdy or just for a nice cup of Earl Grey. As long as you're there we won't complain. See you soon!


  1. Can teens participate? Is it appropriate for those without spoken poetry experience?

  2. Teens are more than welcome. If you have no spoken word experience at all I would recommend sitting in on the first one or maybe trying out the open mic. That being said, if you're feeling brave anyone is more than welcome to compete!