Before you hit the stage read this

If you plan on hitting the stage for the open mic or slam, please read this first (mostly borrowed from Loser Slam NJ with permission)


Content Warning. Consider yourself warned. This is an open mic and slam. We invite features from around the country and globe to read their work. People often write from a place of raw emotion, brutal honesty, and vulnerability. They are feeling things and sharing those things with us. Their feelings might make you feel some feelings. Be aware of what your personal boundaries and limits are and act accordingly. If you need to step outside, do so. No one will fault you for taking care of yourself.

Don’t be an Asshole Warning. Don’t be sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or any other kind of jerk. We have pretty good senses of humor here. We also have very little patience for –ists and –isms parading as edgy humor. Which leads me to…

Respect. While we are an open mic, we do not tolerate hate speech or intimidation on or off stage. Please act respectfully. It’s a small room so if you’re talking while someone is performing, we can all hear you.

The Nuts and Bolts of Open Slams. The time limit for poems in the slam is 3:00. There is a 10 second grace period. So poems under 3:10 will not be penalized. Poems will be penalized (.5) half point at 3:10:01, (1) one point at 3:20:01, (1.5) One and one half points at 3:30:01 and so on. The time starts at the first contact with audience; this can be a word or action.  The maximum time allowable on the open mic is (4) four minutes or 1 (one) poem, whichever comes first. Please be respectful and aware that your fellow poets want to share their poems with an alert, awake and engaged audience, too. (See Poetry Etiquette below for more on this subject.)

There will an 12 poet cap on the slam signup. Slam signup goes up at 7:30. If the list exceeds 12 poets at 8:00, we will randomly select 12 poets to compete by drawing their names out of a hat. If you aren’t drawn, you will have 2 names in next slam’s draw. If you don’t get drawn that slam, you automatically will be slamming the next slam (To note, this means NEXT slam, not one a month from now) . There are 5 spots in the open mic, we will do a draw if more than 5 people sign up. There is a 4 min time limit for the open mic. The host will let you know when your time is up so please bring poems that are no more than 4 mins. If you are hitting the stage bring some merch for our merch table, we’d be happy to sell it for you. We take no percentage.

There is no guarantee that you will be able to read if you sign up. We are operating within the constraints of time and space; do us all a favor and be on time.

Round 1 is in random order.Round 2 takes the top 6 poets from round 1 and has them go in reverse order
Round 3 takes the top 3 poets in random order
Each round is “clean slate” scoring

Your overall scores for the season go towards rankings for the year. At the end of the season if you have slammed at least three times and ranked (or won) you will be contacted to be in the semi finals to compete to be on the Toronto Poetry Slam Team. (The top 16 poets of the season are eligible to go on to semi finals.)

We’ll announce your show!

If you have an announcement that pertains to the wide world of poetry, please write it legibly on paper (or, if for an event, bring in the flyer) and give it to the evening’s host. You MUST do this well before the end of the show