Pure Ink Poetry

Bringing Poetry to life

Pure Ink Poetry

Bringing Poetry to life

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What is a Poetry Slam



A poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their own work and are judged by 5 members of the audience. The host will randomly select 5 judges from the audience.  The judges are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 scale) based on the poets' content and performance.  All poems must be of the poet's own construction. Scores are tallied from the 5 judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30.


Poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance while encouraging poets to focus on what they're saying and how they're saying it. 


Because it is fun and engaging!!!





  •  The sign up sheet for the slam and the Open Mic both close at 6:30 on the dot. If a poet is not there to sign up by then, they will not be able to compete in the slam or the open mic.
  • Drawing for the poets performing in the slam will be made at 6:30. You will draw in the order in which you sign up. Poets will be able to draw a number, decide if they will keep it or put it back to draw another number. The second number must be kept by the poet.



  • Poems can be on any subject and in any style.
  • Each poet must perform work that s/he has created.
  • No props.
  • No musical instruments or pre-recorded music.
  • No costumes. 


  • It is acceptable for a poet to incorporate, imitate, or otherwise "signify on" the words, lyrics, or tune of someone else (commonly called "sampling") in their own work. If the poet is only riffing off another's words, that poet should expect only healthy controversy;
  • if on the other hand, the poet is ripping off their words, that poet should expect scornful contumely.


  • A poem may be only used once within a 3 month period.
  • This means that if you performed a poem in January, you can't repeat that poem until April.
  • We are watching


  • No performance should last longer than three minutes.
  • A poet’s time starts as soon as they engage the audience. This includes any introduction or obvious gesturing that indicate the beginning of a performance.
  • A poet is certainly allowed several full seconds to adjust the microphone and get settled & ready, but as soon as the poet engages the audience, the timekeeper will start the clock. 
  • Poets do not have an unlimited amount of "mime time." If a poet hasn't started to engage or talk within 20 seconds of standing on the stage, a poet's time will start.
  • After three minutes, there is a 10-second grace period (up to and including 3:10:00). Starting at 3:10:01, a penalty is automatically deducted from each poet's overall score according to the following schedule:

3:10 and under no penalty

3:10:001 - 3:20 -0.5

3:20:001 - 3:30 -1.0

3:30:001 - 3:40 -1.5

3:40:001 - 3:50 -2.0

and so on [-0.5 for every 10 seconds over 3:10]

  • The announcement of the time penalty and its consequent deduction will be made by the Slam Master or scorekeeper after all the judges have reported their scores. The judges should not even be told that a poet went overtime until it is too late for them to adjust their scores.



  • After four minutes, only the Slam Master can stop a poet from continuing to perform.


  • Poets are allowed to talk casually with anyone in the crowd before the bout begins (except the judges, if they have already been chosen). 
  • They are not, allowed to give anything to the audience or have anyone do this for them.
  • Furthermore, inside the venue (in the presence or within earshot of the audience) they must not act in any way that would make more of an impression than another competitor waiting for the competition to begin.
  • Poets who violate this rule will be given one warning by the Slam Master, bout manager, or house manager.
  • Further violation will result in a two-point penalty for that poet’s score (or his team).


All efforts shall be made to select five judges who will be fair.  Once chosen, the judges will:

  • be given a set of printed instructions on how to judge a poetry slam,
  • have a private, verbal crash course by the Slam Master or bout manager on the do's and don'ts of poetry slam judging (where they can ask questions),
  • and hear the standardized Official Slam Master Spiel, which, among other things, will apprise the audience of their own responsibilities as well as remind the judges of theirs.
  • Having heard, read, or otherwise experienced these three sets of instructions, a judge cannot be challenged over a score.
  • Complaints, problems, and/or disagreements regarding the impartiality of the judges should be brought privately to the attention of the Slam Master or bout manager BEFORE the bout begins.
  • Having heard and understood the complaint, the bout manager or Slam Master will then make a decision (also privately) that cannot be further challenged.



  • The judges will give each poem a score from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest or "perfect" score.
  • They will be encouraged to use one decimal place in order to preclude the likelihood of a tie.
  • Each poem will get five scores.
  • The high and the low scores will be dropped and the remaining three scores will be added together.
  • There will be a sacrificial poet to calibrate the judges before the Slam starts.


  • If there are ten or more poets in the first round of the poetry slam, we will cut the number of poets for the second round in half +1.
  • This means that If there are 10 poets in round one, there will be 6 poets in round two. (10/2=5, 5+1=6)
  • There will be a maximum of 7 poets for the second round.
  • Poets will perform in reverse order in the second round. 



  • 1st place winner will receive a cash prize or a gift.
  • 1st place winner gets to take home the Pure Ink Slam Champion Belt.
  • During the Pure Ink Slam Season which begins in August and ends in March, Poets who become 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive National Slam Points.
  • National Slam Points give a poet a chance to qualify for the Pure Ink Poetry National Slam Team at the Slamtastic Slam Finals in April.
  • 1st place receives 5 National Slam Points.
  • 2nd place receives 3 National Slam Points.
  • 3rd place receives 1 National Slam Point.
  • Poets who earn or exceed 15 National Slam Points will be asked not to slam during the rest of the slam season until time for the Slamtastic Slam Finals in April.  However, poets may be asked to serve as a sacrificial poet, feature or host.
  • Top 12 poets with National Slam Points will compete in the Slamtastic Slam Finals in April.


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