Poets & Painters Poetry Slam Guidelines

 In Arts and Culture, Community News, Diamond Neighborhoods, Events, Jacobs Presents, Southeastern San Diego


Interested eehybtsits
in showing off your poetry skills at the Poets & Painters Graffiti Art and Spoken Word Poetry Festival this Saturday, June 25? Here’s everything you need to know to enter the festival Poetry Slam for a chance to win $500 in cash prizes.



• All poets wishing to participate must check in and sign up at the information booth by 2:30pm.

• We can only accommodate 20 poets.  The names of those who sign up before the 2:30 cut off will be placed in a drawing to choose who will get to compete.

• The Slam starts at 3:30. 20 poets will compete in round one. (In the order drawn)

• The top 7 poets will advance to round two. The order will be highest to lowest. Whomever has the highest score in round one, will go first in round two.

• The highest combined score of the two rounds wins.

• No profanity, sexually explicit or hate speech allowed.


1ST PLACE – $300.00, 2016 Poets And Painters Trophy, Poets & Painters 1ST Place Certificate, Featured Spot on the Jacobs Center’s Website, & bragging rights for a year!

2nd PLACE – $150.00, Poets & Painters 2nd Place Certificate

3rd PLACE – $50.00, Poets & Painters 3rd Place Certificate

NOTE: Since we will not know the winner until the end of the show, a check for the prize money will be cut in the winner’s name and ready at an arranged time.


What is poetry slam?

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. In competition, the poets are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer selects the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or one to 10 scale) based on the poets’ content and performance.

Who gets to participate?

Though everyone who signs up has the opportunity to read in the first round, the lineup for subsequent rounds is determined by the judges’ scores. In other words, the judges vote for which poets they want to see more work from.

What are the rules?

• Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction.

• Each poet gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score.

• The poet may not use props, costumes or musical instruments;

• Of the scores the poet receives from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score ranging from 0-30.

What kind of poetry is read at slams?

You’ll find a diverse range of work within 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 I win a poetry slam?

Winning a poetry slam requires some measure of skill and a huge dose of luck. The judges’ tastes, the audience’s reactions, and the poets’ performances all shape a slam event, and what wins one week might not get a poet into the second round the next week. There’s no formula for winning a slam, although you become a better poet and performer the same way you get to Carnegie Hall – practice, practice, practice.

What is the difference between slam poetry and poetry?

There is no such thing as “slam poetry” even though the term “slam poet” seems to have gained acceptance. The more useful question to ask is “What is the difference between spoken word and poetry?” Spoken word is poetry written first and foremost to be heard. At any given slam, much of the work presented could be called spoken word but all forms of poetry are accepted.

Learn more about  the Poets & Painters here