For all those of you who wonder, "Why would you ever want your poetry judged? It just seems so harsh." Here are the reasons why I compete:
A poet is accountable to their community, to their audience. A poet should be saying what an audience needs to hear and wants to hear. If you are too far ahead of the curve or preaching to the choir, then the judges (audience members) won't give you the high scores. Meet the audience where they are at, and take them somewhere new.
Competition brings out the best performances. There is that extra pressure in competition that builds anticipation in the audience and drive in the performer. It's the difference between a pick-up game of b-ball behind the school and the championship game.
Finally, the points are not the point. I slam because I love to. Story: Mighty Mike McGee didn't get into the second round for two years. And he's Mike McGee.
That's why I slam. Why do you compete?