Rules vary from slam to slam, the basic rules which have been adapted for the Verse vs Verse Poetry Slam are:
* Each poem must be an original piece of work of the poet’s (or the performing team’s) own construction;
* Each poet (or team) gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet (team) goes over they will be stopped by the host;
* The poets may not use props, costumes, or musical instruments;
* Teams of three young people maximum;
* This year, the competition will be judged by a panel of poets, artists and practitioners. True to slam, the participants will be scored on content and performance.
In America the MCs encourage the audience to respond to the poets or the judges in any way they see fit. Audiences can boo or cheer at the conclusion of a poem, or even during a poem. At the Uptown Slam at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern, where poetry slam was born, the audience is instructed on an established progression of reactions if they don’t like a poet, including finger snapping, foot stomping, and various verbal exhortations.
Audience reaction will play a key role in the Verse vs Verse Slam, Eastside suggests the following positive reactions:
1.) Clapping, 2.) Clapping and cheering, 3.) Clapping, cheering, standing up and stamping feet.
No negative reactions will be allowed at this slam.
One of the best things about poetry slam is the range of poets it attracts. A diverse range of work can be found, including heartfelt love poetry, searing social commentary, uproarious comic routines, and bittersweet personal confessional pieces. Poets are free to do work in any style on any subject. For the Verse vs Verse poetry slam the theme will be ‘Peace’ poems must therefore reflect this theme.