Slam Tournament

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Montreal Spoken Word Slam Tournament

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The following rules are in accordance with those observed at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and printed in the American National Poetry Slam Rule Book from Poetry Slam Incorporated. They apply to all Throw Poetry Collective slams, unless otherwise indicated. Rules 1-5 and 7-12 have been exactly reproduced here from the Rule Book. Rules 2, and 6 have been modified to apply to the local slam season and playoff round.

1. Poems can be on any subject and in any style.

2. Each poet must perform work that s/he has created, and perform solo.

3. No props. A prop is defined an object or article of clothing introduced into a performance with the effect of enhancing, illustrating, underscoring, or otherwise augmenting the words of the poem. Generally, poets are allowed to use their given environment and the accoutrements it offers – microphones, mic stands, the stage itself, chairs on stage, a table or bar top, the aisle – as long as these accoutrements are available to other competitors as well. The rule concerning props is not intended to squelch the spontaneity, unpredictability, or on-the-fly choreography that people love about the slam; its intent is to keep the focus on the words rather than objects.

4. No musical instruments or pre-recorded music.

5. No costumes.

6. a) No poem used in competition during a regular monthly slam shall be used in the first round of any subsequent regular slam during the same season. Poems that have been slammed previously are permitted in the second round.

6. b) No poem used in the semi-finals of the playoff round can be performed again in the finals. However, any poem used in competition during the regular season can be performed in competition during the playoff round, as long as it has not been performed during a playoff round in any previous year.

7. Sampling: It is acceptable for a poet to incorporate, imitate, or otherwise “signify” on the words, lyrics, or tune of someone else (commonly called “sampling” in his own work. If he is only riffing off another’s words, he should expect only healthy controversy; if on the other hand, he is ripping off their words, he should expect scornful contumely.

8. The Three-Minute Rule: No performance should last longer than three minutes. The time begins when the performance begins, which may well be before the first utterance is made. A poet is certainly allowed several full seconds to adjust the microphone and get settled & ready, but as soon as s/he makes a connection with the audience (“Hey look, she’s been standing there for 10 seconds and hasn’t even moved”), the timekeeper can start the clock. The poet does not have an unlimited amount of “mime time.” Poets with ambiguous beginnings & endings to their performances should seek out the timekeeper at each venue to settle on a starting & ending time. After three minutes, there is a 10-second grace period (up to and including 3:10.00). Starting at 3:10.01, a penalty is automatically deducted from each poet’s overall score according to the following schedule: 3:10 and under no penalty 3:10.01 – 3:20 -0.5 3:20.01 – 3:30 -1.0 3:30.01 – 3:40 -1.5 3:40.01 – 3:50 -2.0 and so on [-0.5 for every 10 seconds over 3:10] The announcement of the time penalty and its consequent deduction will be made by the emcee or scorekeeper after all the judges have reported their scores. The judges should not even be told that a poet went overtime until it is too late for them to adjust their scores. Maximum Time Limit: After four minutes, only the emcee may stop a poet from continuing to perform.

9. Judging: All efforts shall be made to select five judges who will be fair. Once chosen, the judges will have a private, verbal crash course by the emcee or house manager on the do’s and don’ts of poetry slam judging (where they can ask questions).

10. Scoring: The judges will give each poem a score from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest or “perfect” score. They will be encouraged to use one decimal place in order to preclude the likelihood of a tie. Each poem will get five scores. The high and the low scores will be dropped and the remaining three scores will be added together.

11. Emcees: The emcee will announce to the audience each poet’s name. She will also require that all judges hold their scores up at the same time and that no judge changes his score after it is up. She is expected to move the show along quickly and keep the audience engaged and interested in the competition. Since s/he must be completely impartial, any witty banter directed at individual poets, poems, teams, or scores is inappropriate. Even genuine enthusiasm has to be carefully directed. The safest thing to do is encourage the audience to express their own opinions.

12. Sacrificial Poet: Because no poet wants to go first in the slam, and because some judges, score keepers and time keepers need practice, each slam begins with a “sacrificial poet”. This poet performs a piece and is scored as if they were competing in the slam.

***Rules are Subject to change***

 A Statement on “Spoken Word” on behalf of “SPLC”

As the paradigms within the Artistic realms continue to shift, and the valuable core of the Spoken Word Poetry art-form begins to weaken, there presents a need to move past the superficialities and return to the authentic root of the tradition. Out of the civil rights movement sprang forth the Last Poets, a political music group popularizing Poetry within the underground African-American Community, and during a tumultuous socio-political era, the expressions of art presented by the Last Poets served as a medium of social commentary. It was during this time that Spoken Word Poetry was birthed, and this new and invigorating art form was the Truth; it described the real temperature of the environment with a rhetoric that was like no other. More notably, it was the chief contributor towards the unification of an oppressed people for a collective cause.

Spoken Word Poetry is a language that can transcend through religion, color, creed, nationality and culture. It gives birth to the pure mind of an artist, exposing their perspectives and desires on a platform that is open to receive. The interdependency of Art and Community is clear if one seeks to understand the history and true essence of the Spoken Word art form. Spoken Word creates an irrepressible force that continually strives to elevate the awareness of Political, Educational, Economic, Social and Spiritual views never before holistically perceived. Through the united voice of Words Spoken, harmony and life will manifest, edifying the artistic scene.

As we can all benefit from Art and Culture within our society, it is only rational and logical to continue to endeavor in the building of our Artistic Community here in Montreal, QC, and what better way than to resurrect the most potent form of artistic expression. Being the 15th largest Metropolitan area in North America, we are purposefully situated in an opportune location which nurtures diversity and originality beneficial for the growth of a healthy artistic community. Some of Montreal’s Historic Poetic roots can be traced back to writers such as Hopeton Anderson, Peter Bliss Bailey, and Frederick Ward, all of whom realized that in order to move forward in the building of a strong artistic community here in Montreal, there needed to be a common artistic goal in efforts to create a social movement that produced a shared consciousness. Today, it is evident, that this perfect synergy can only be experienced through the revitalization of the spoken word poetry art form.

With all of this in mind, the Sovereign Prerogative Live Creations (SPLC), a Social Enterprises of a cooperative structure, is doing their part to expand the artistic scene throughout Montreal with the creation of the “A Mic&Dim Lights Montreal Slam Team”, along with a Spoken Word Slam Tournament. With the creation of the Mic&Dim Lights Montreal Slam Team, and Spoken Word Slam Tournament, SPLC hopes to enhance the artistic culture within the city of Montreal. Understanding that poetry originated from the “Harlem Renaissance”, SPLC aspires to have a Montreal Spoken Word Community with a voice as strong and a scene as thriving as the likes of New York and L.A., all the while staying true to the roots of Spoken Word as an outlet for artists to share their distinct views.

SPLC is honored to invite your unique personage and voice to participate in Mic&Dim Lights premiere Spoken Word Tournament to be held March 1st , 2012 @ cafe l’artere, 7000 parc ave (2-5 min walk from metro parc) View Map.

This was our previous Slam Tournament. The next one is coming soon.
Keep your eyes open! Take hold of your right to speak!!!