Flagstaff Poetry, Slam & Spoken Word

About Poetry Slam

What's a Poetry Slam?
Slam is a performance poetry contest with attention to both writing and performance.

You make poets COMPETE against each other?
Yup, but it's all in good fun. The motivation is to get people interested in poetry in a new fun way.

What are the main rules?

  • Each poem must be of the poet's own construction
  • A Slam bout will usually last 3 rounds so poets need 3 poems each
  • Each poet gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem, if the poet goes over, points will be deducted from the total score
  • The poet may not use props, costumes, or musical instruments

How do you pick a winner?
That's one of the best parts. It's the audience! We pick five people at random from the crowd and after each poem, the judges will each assign a score to the poem on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0. We drop the high and low scores and add the rest together. It's kind of like Olympic figure-skating judging, without the international conspiracies.

Where can I learn more?
You can come to a Slam and experience it or visit the Frequently Asked Questions at Poetry Slam Inc., the official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams.

The Flagstaff Poetry Slam

When are Flagstaff's regular Slams?
The 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at Long Days Cafe.
These events start at 8:00pm, signup at 7:30pm, and you should know that any event may contain mature language and themes.

Poetry Slams have been happening regularly in Flagstaff since August of 2000. A nice young man named Nick Fox moved to Flagstaff from Mesa to attend school and brought his finely honed organizational skills and energy for Slam with him.

In 2001, Flagstaff sent its first team to the National Poetry Slam in Seattle. Nick Fox, Josh Fleming, Christopher Lane, Chris Graham, Eric Dye and Andy Hall made up the team. The Flagstaff "Slam Pirates" made a huge impression and finished 36th out of 56 teams.

The following year only Andy Hall returned to the team accompanied by Logan Phillips, Dom Flemons, John R. Kofonow and the Flagstaff Grand Slam Champion, Suzy La Follette. This team finished 35th in Minneapolis in August, 2002, one place better than the previous year. One team member was heard to remark "Thirty-four more years and we're on top!"

Flagstaff also sent a team to the 2003 Nationals in Chicago. In 2004, Flagstaff joined the combined NORAZpoets National Slam Team which finished 24th out of 69 teams at St. Louis' 2004 National Poetry Slam. Team member Logan Phillips finished 20th individually out of 350 poets!