Poetry slam

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A poetry slam is a competition at which poets read or recite original work (or, more rarely, that of others). These performances are then judged on a numeric scale by previously selected members of the audience.

Contents

History

Marc Smith is credited with starting the poetry slam at the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago in November 1984. In July 1986, the slam moved to its permanent home, the Green Mill Jazz Club.[1] In 1990, the first National Poetry Slam took place in Fort Mason, San Francisco, involving a team from Chicago, a team from San Francisco, and an individual poet from New York [2]. As of 2010, the National Poetry Slam has grown and currently features approximately 80 certified teams each year, culminating in five days of competition.[3].

Slams have spread all over the world, with slam scenes in Canada, Germany, Sweden, France, Austria, Israel, Switzerland, Nepal, the Netherlands, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Sarajevo, Bosnia, Denmark, South Korea, India and Greece.

Format

In a poetry slam, members of the audience are chosen by an M.C. or host to act as judges for the event. In the standard slam, there are five judges. After each poet performs, each judge awards a score to that poem. Scores generally range between zero and ten. The highest and lowest score are dropped, giving each performance a rating between zero and thirty points.

Before the competition begins, the host will often bring up a "sacrificial poet," which the judges will score in order to calibrate their judging.

A single round at a slam consists of performances by all eligible poets. Most slams last multiple rounds, and many involve the elimination of lower-scoring poets in successive rounds. A standard elimination rubric might run 8-4-2, with eight poets in the first round, four in the second, and two in the last. Some slams do not eliminate poets at all.

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