A poetry slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Everyone who signs up has the opportunity to read in the first round; the lineup for subsequent rounds is determined by the judges' scores. Though rules vary from slam to slam, the basic rules are:

* Each poem must be of the poet's own construction;
* 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.
* The poet may not use props, costumes or musical instruments;
* Of the scores the poet received from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30.

Slam is engineered for the audience, whereas a number of open mike readings are engineered as a support network for poets. Slam is designed for the audience to react vocally and openly to all aspects of the show, including the poet's performance, the judges' scores, and the host's banter. Audiences can boo or cheer at the conclusion of a poem, or even during a poem.

The best poetry slams include a wide variety of writing and performance styles. This, of course, depends on who shows up to compete and-- beyond the first round-- what the judges see fit to hear more of. The only requirement for judging is that the audience member not be a family member or intimate friend of any of the competitors.

The best slam poets are those who are skilled at both theatrical performance (stage presence, timing, voice modulation, body language and emoting) and pure poetic writing (metaphor, insight, brevity, sonance, wit).
for examples of good poetry slam performances, see: Andrea Gibson, Anis Mojgani, Rachel McKibbens, Robbie Q. Telfer, JohnMark Huscher
by idiosynthesis September 22, 2009
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It's like a rap battle, but without the black people.
"You want to come with me to a poetry slam?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't collect Pokemon."
by quadhome February 15, 2009
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Shit poetry by illiterate hipsters. Everyone gets on stage and yells at you about Social Injustice.
My friend forced me to go a poetry slam. I had not before then seen such a high concentration of pretentious assholes gathered for the purpose of stoking one another's egos.
by Teresa Alice April 07, 2008
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A spoken poetry competition. The way you read your writing puts emphasis on its meaning. Uses a bit of theatrics.
I won a poetry slam with my latest writing
by Cotton January 16, 2006
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poetry slam is a competitive game when you slam poetry as well as pussy at the same t8me, you have to do it while your dick is soft!
I’m gonna do poetry slam later
by shayan khan January 05, 2021
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1: gangbang.
2: gangbang
3: gangbang
4: just trying to meet the word requirement.
"What's a 'Poetry Slam'?"
"I dunno... gangbang?"
by Eid January 07, 2005
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a poem reading competition who primary participants are white people, specifically grown up white boys and basic white girls. Does not take much talent as it's a white people version of a rap battle.
Tyler: Hi girl, what you doing tonight?
Brittany: Goin to a Poetry slam, bitch
Tyler: Oh we'll do some great drugs after it gets over cuz we have no life!
by watermelawn April 14, 2016
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