Rite of Joy $2000 Slam Rules





There will be 3 rounds and up to 16 participants.

All participants must be present for bout draw/order selection. 2nd and 3rd round participant order is set highest score to lowest (i.e. the competitor with the highest score goes first, second highest goes 2nd, etc).

Cuts are as follows:

Round 1 – all participating poets will recite/read
Round 2 – the 8 top scorers will recite/read
Round 3 – the 4 top scorers will recite/read

1st Place $1500

2nd Place $500

In the case of a final-round tiebreaker for 1st or 2nd place, a 1-minute poem will be recited/read to break the tie. There will be no tie-breakers between rounds.


This slam will use 5 random judges. These judges will be chosen the night of the slam. All efforts shall be made to select five judges who will be fair. Competing poets and any persons who are associated with a specific poet or group of poets are not eligible to judge.

Judges will give scores ranging from 1 – 10.  (In the case where 5 judges are not available the slam is able to move forward with 3 judges instead of 5.)

In the event that a judge leaves the slam, a replacement judge will be found and the slam will continue. If there are any judging pairs, the pair will be split to replace the missing judge. The poet affected by the judge’s leaving will have the option to repeat their current poem or use a different one.

The scores of the judges will be collected. The scorekeeper will drop the lowest score and the highest score.  The middle 3 scores will be added together, and that will be the score of the round.

After the first round, the slate will be clean. 2nd and 3rd rounds, cumulative scoring.  If there is a tie in the final round, a 1-minute poem will be recited/read to break the tie. This poem will also receive a 20-second grace period.  The host will cut the poet off at 1 minute and 20 seconds.  If the poet keeps going, they will disqualify themself.

The Judges will NOT use the traditional scoring scale for the tie-breaker round, instead, they will score the poem by indicating which poet they think should win. In the case of a two-way tie, the judges would choose between poet 1 or poet 2. In the case of a three-way tie, the judges would choose between poet 1, poet 2, or poet 3.  The poet with the majority of the votes will win the round, and the slam in its entirety.


Each round consists of each competitor in the round taking a turn to say a poem.

Each competitor has 3 minutes to deliver their original performance. Due to the exuberance of the crowd, 20 second grace period will be allowed.  This means each competitor has 3 minutes and a 20-second grace period to deliver their performance. Time starts as soon as a word is said, or a motion/gesture is made towards the audience.

If any competitor’s performance exceeds 3 minutes and 20 seconds, the competitor will lose .5 point for every 10 seconds past 3 minutes and 20 seconds from the cumulative score of that round. If the poem exceeds 4 minutes, it will be disqualified.  After one minute beyond the time limit for the round, only the MC must stop a poet from continuing to perform.

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

Props, Costumes, and Musical Accompaniment:

Props, Costumes, and Musical Accompaniment are prohibited. If any of these devices are used there will be a 2-point deduction from the cumulative score of the poet for that round. In short – stay within time, no props or costumes allowed, just you and the words!