Performance Poets

Words Written to be Heard

Dozens of teams from across North America and Europe converged on Madison, Wisconsin last month for the 2008 edition of National Poetry Slam, the genre’s flagship event. Now, fans of the spoken word are gearing up to attend this year’s Individual World Poetry Slam, held from December 10 to 13 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Most major cities in the United States, plus many college towns, regularly hold these competitions. According to Poetry Slam Inc., a nonprofit that oversees the international coalition of events, “Winning a poetry slam requires some measure of skill and a huge dose of luck.” The judges’ tastes and audience reactions, as well as the poets’ performances, shape the outcome. Anyone can enter to qualify.

Find the official Slam Directory of events at For more on the world competition, see

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