How We Work

Seattle Poetry Slam was founded in the fall of 1992. A slam is a competitive performance poetry reading. There are poetry slams all over the country and Seattle is known to have one of the best. Every year Seattle sends poets to National and International competitions where we are known for bringing quality writing as well as excellent performance.

The poetry slam is a competition invented in the 1980s by a chicago construction worker named Marc Smith, in which performed poetry is judged by 5 random members of the audience. The judges will then score the poem anywhere from 0 to 10. The high and the low scores are dropped and the middle three are added to give the poet their total score.

A slam is simple – it only has three rules:

1) Poets must perform their own original work.

2) No props, costumes or musical accompaniment.

3) Poets have 3 minutes (unless otherwise specified) to perform their poems


If you are not interested in slam competition, but are interested in sharing your work – we have an open mic every week as well! Each person on the open mic gets 1 poem (3 minutes or less) 


More information about the national and international competitions:

National Poetry Slam

Woman of the World Poetry Slam

Individual World Poetry Slam