Tonight It's Poetry

Sundays at 8pm | Amigos Cantina | Only 5$!

Slam Poetry Formats

Slam poetry comes in a number of different formats and at the end of the day it is fundamentally an excuse for us to share ideas so whatever is most conducive to that is the way to do it.  Some are competitive formats and others are just for fun.  Here are a number of formats that we’ve held in the past and that may happen again sometime in the future:

  1. Topic / Genre Slam
    • Nerd Slam
      • Also sometimes known as the “Smart-funny-charming-people-who-will-one-day-take-over-the-world slam”.  This format is essentially a slam night that only allows poems on Nerdy topics (video games, dnd, science, cartoons, comics, and the internet).  Anything aside from something overtly nerdy will cause the offending poet to be banned from the venue for up to a minute and lose the exact value of π from their total score.
    • Story Slam
      • This format extends the time limit to 5 minutes and is contest of who can tell the best story.  This is more of a prose > poetry night but it’s still a lot of fun.  If you like laughing until you cry one minute and feeling chills through your spine the next, then this is the night for you to check out.
    • Highschool Flaskback Slam
      • O.M.G. Drama bomb!  This slam format requires the poets to break out their old high school love letters, break-up letters, and all around sensationally poorly written poems.  Only the most dramatic, poetically uninspired and poorly written works will be considered the champions of this format.  The motto of this format is “If you aren’t embarrassed your* not doing it right!” (*clearly we wouldn’t spell you’re properly)
  2. Anarchy Slam
    • “There are no rules at the Anarchy Slam!”  – Actually there are rules.  The one rule of an Anarchy Slam is that you have to break at least one of the standard rules in Slam poetry (you’re encouraged not to be boring e.g. just break the time limit rule).  Here is the complete set of slam poetry rules.
  3. Haiku Deathmatch
    • “Enter Haiku!” – Up to 15 competitors bring 15 haikus and battle head to head in a three round haiku battle to the death of their balloon.  Instead of random judges the entire audience is the judge.  Everyone receives a paper plate at the start with a red side and a white side (each side represents a competitor).  The battle is gruesome and leaves everyone’s head spinning in a 5-7-5 rotation for days after the event.
  4. Short Poem Deathmatch
    • Can you wrap the audience around your finger in under one minute in a head-to-head grudge match?  This format is really similar to a haiku deathmatch except we drop the 5-7-5 rule for a really short time limit.
  5. Underground Slam
    • No mic.  The audience forms a circle around the poet and the piece begins.  At 3 minutes (no 10 second grace) if the poem is not finished the audience roars and the poet is silenced.  This is raw and passionate like juicy juicy poet mangos all over your brain.
  6. Karaoke Slam
    • In this format the poets read other poets’ work.  There are usually no scores for this and sometimes there is musical accompaniment.  This is always incredible and a lot of fun.
  7. 1-2-3 Slam
    • One minute, two minute, three minute poems.  Sounds easy, right? Wrong!  Compelling one minute poems can be tough to write and by the time everyone is at 3 minute poems the audience attention span has been diminished to that of a gold fish.  This format is only for the brave.
  8. Two-headed Giant Slam
    • I’m making this up based off a magic the gathering tournament style.  This is essentially a poetry slam where two random people are given a period of time (one day – one week) to create team pieces to go head to head to head to head with all the other competing teams.  Since everyone will have (hopefully) put in a lot of work into their pieces there will be no teams cut between the first and second rounds.