The Golden Rule of Poetry Slam

The points are not the point. The point is poetry!

Basic Poetry Slam Rules

1. Each solo poem must be of the poet’s own creation.

2.  Each group poem must feature the primary author of the poem.  If more than one person is considered to be the primary author then they all need to be performing the poem

3. Memorization is not required or necessary.  The poet may choose to bring a sheet of paper or chapbook to the stage to read off of their phone(s).

4. 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 by the scorekeeper.  The poem/performance will lose .5 (point 5) off of their score for each 10 seconds they go over.

5. The poet may not use props, costumes, pre-recorded/taped music, or musical instruments while performing.  It’s just you and your poem on stage.  BUT you are allowed to sing or beat box or make any other sounds with your body in your performance.

5B: as far as props go…don’t write a poem about your phone and use your phone in your performance, or a poem about toques and point to your toque etc.  as for costumes, you cannot change clothes during your bout.  meaning the outfit you wear during your solo piece has to be the same outfit you wear during your team piece in the same bout.  changing your clothes for the performance of a different poem could be considered a costume change.

6. The poem may NOT include sexist, racist, homophobic, or transphobic comments. Basically, use your common sense and don’t be a jerk, and leave your hate at the gate.  However anger, upset and frustration are totally legit emotions to express in your poem, just be creative in how you go about doing it.

7. The poet receives scores out of 10 from five randomly-selected judges. The high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score out of 30.

Code of Honour

As a participant in the Hullabaloo, I agree:

1. To revel in an environment in which freedom of speech, self-determination, and pursuit of creative excellence are inalienable rights.

2. To participate in all Hullabaloo events in a way that encourages, illuminates and supports established standards of good sportsmanship. To refuse to allow the competitive challenge of the game to lead me to violence, interference, or direct threats. To allow all participants to pursue their craft peacefully and without censure, regardless of present associations or past personal history.

3. To comply with local, provincial and federal laws pertaining to individual civil rights and physical or sexual harassment.

4. To abide by competition rules as defined by Hullabaloo, knowing that the consequences for breaking the rules exist and are upheld. Penalties will be determined by the severity of the infraction, and the ruling of the presiding emcee and, where applicable, the presiding protest committee.

5. To be a fair poet, one who in competition is fair and generous, one who in any connection has recourse to nothing illegitimate; a poet who in defeat demonstrates grace and in victory magnanimity.

(In other words, play nice!)