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.

Australian Poetry Slam Rules

All entrants to the Australian Poetry Slam 2018 agree to abide by the following rules, terms and conditions.

  1. All ages are welcome to enter the Australian Poetry Slam Heats and Finals, unless the event is announced as being specifically for young people. People under 18 years of age should confirm with the venue for their heat if they will need to be accompanied by a "responsible adult".

  2. Maximum of 20 contestants per heat.

  3. Entry for the slam is at the venue on the night of the heat. (Check with local heat organisers).

  4. Contestants must reside in the state in which they are competing.

  5. Random draw for performance order.

  6. ABSOLUTE two minute limit. Time starts at your first word or when the timekeeper feels your performance has begun (no additional time for introductions). Points will be deducted from the final score for exceeding the time limit — one point for going over time and an extra point every 30 seconds beyond that. For example: At 2:01 minutes you will lose a point. At 2:31 minutes you will lose another point.

  7. Five judges chosen by the MC at random from the audience.

  8. 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.

  9. Poems must be the original work of the performer written within the last 12 months.

  10. No musical accompaniment. No props. No costumes.

  11. Two performers with the highest scores in each heat will proceed to their State Final.

  12. Staff and volunteers of Word Travels, Australian Poetry Slam and venues that are hosting heats may not compete.
  13. You may enter more than one heat in your state. 


Australia Council for the Arts
Create NSW logo
Copyright Agency Cultural Fund 2.jpg

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.