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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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An increasing phenomenon in bars and cafes across the western world, where poor poets strut and fret about an open mic stage and spout doggerel about police brutality, their ex-girlfriends' mothers or the last time they got stoned. All in the same poem.

The point of a poetry slam is to shout your drivel louder than the previous contestant, while whooping your friends into a brain-dead ecstacy by throwing in staccato clusters of meaningless interior rhymes without discretion or respect to form reflecting thematic content. You must also recite your work breathlessly, hunched over your microphone and clutching your tofu-addled guts.

Invariably, poetry slams are populated by idiots and poems are full of sound and fury, signifying something only if you are part of the poetry slam clique.
"My girlfriend's mother, she's a bit of all right/Apart from her love for the fascist Right/I got stoned with her and I said, hey mother-babe/Wanna take a ride in my astrolabe/She fetched me a punch upside me chops/and said "Young man, I shall call the cops"/and they arrived and said hey you're that twat from the Poetry Slam and they hit me man and it was really heavy and like I had to eat non-organic baked beans in the cell with a papier mache fork taken from a page of the Daily Mail and had to wipe my backside with a copy of Young Conservatives' Conference Special 1987 - William Hague Edition. Wow, bummer."
by Cheesesammich June 14, 2009
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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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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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When you and a friend both say the same thing at the same time: alternative for jynx
If you and a friend both say the same thing you would shout, Poetry Slam!!
by randomathon March 24, 2011
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