Australian Poetry Slam

The Australian Poetry Slam is a national competition for spoken word artists. Anyone can enter. In 2017, 50 heats will be held in towns, cities and suburbs hold slam heats, in state and territory of Australia. Cafe's, libraries, festivals, community halls, pubs and clubs host these events. Audiences award scores to each poet. The favourite poet from each heat is eligible to compete at a regional or state poetry slam final. The best from each state and territory travel to Sydney, to perform for a packed out audience at the National Final. The national slam champion wins prizes and professional gigs.

How does it work?

Sign Up

The sign up for every slam opens half an hour before each slam begins at the host venue (unless otherwise stated). It doesn't matter whether you're a first-time performer or a spoken word aficionado – just rock up ready to write down your name and give a breathtaking performance.


Performing writers are given a microphone, a live audience, and just two minutes to capture the crowd.

The host selects five judges at random from the crowd. After each performance, judges hold up score cards using a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest. Of the five scores for each poet, only the middle three scores are counted. The judges’ decisions are final.

Whether you're a poet or an audience member, you can be part of the search for the next slam champion.


Stage 1: Heats
50 heats run across Australia in city spaces and regional venues. Two performers from each heat are chosen by their audiences as local slam champions. 

Stage 2: Finals
Local slam champions are invited to Regional, Territory or State Finals. Audiences at the Finals choose two powerful wordsmiths to head to Sydney, to compete at the Australian Poetry Slam National Final.

Stage 3: National Final
The audience picks one performing writer to represent Australian Poetry Slam on an international tour.

Stage 4: International Tour
The Australian Poetry Slam Champion is sent on tour to the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, Singapore Writers Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival. 

 Srisha Sritharan performing at the 2017 Australian Poetry Slam National Final at the Sydney Opera House

Srisha Sritharan performing at the 2017 Australian Poetry Slam National Final at the Sydney Opera House

Australia Council for the Arts
Create NSW logo
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Australian Poetry Slam is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and supported by the NSW Government through Create NSW, as well as Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.