Return to 8×8 slam series

8×8 rules and format

The 8×8 slams are conducted in head-to-head (or “bracket”) format, an old-school style no longer in use in most of the country. Eight poets sign up and perform in pairs: poet 1 vs. poet 2, poet 3 vs. poet 4, poet 5 vs. poet 6, and poet 7 vs. poet 8. The winning four poets advance to the second round and face off in pairs again. The final two poets slam off in the final round for the win!

Poets new to competition are invited to read over the guide for first-time slammers. Slammers new to the venue will be interested in the following rules and format details for the 8×8 slam series:

  • Open poetry slams in the 8×8 are open to anyone EXCEPT those who have already won a slam in the current series. Current winners are listed here.
  • You may not sign up for both the open mic and the open poetry slam UNLESS the feature has finished and there are still open slots remaining in the slam.
  • Slammers may sign up in any of the eight slots in the slam, and will be called to stage in that order. (Yes, that often means that the first person to get to the slam list signs up at #8!)
  • You will need three poems to win, regardless of the number of poets who have signed up.
  • All National Poetry Slam rules apply. In addition, for all speed slams, the time limit rule is adjusted to require a 3-minute poem in the first round, a 2-minute poem in the second round, and a 1-minute poem in the final round.
  • If a tiebreaker is necessary, the tied poets return to the stage and perform again in the same order (in the case of speed slams, that means the same time limit, too). Ties are broken using judge preference, not raw scores!

After eight slams, all eight winners are invited to return for the Champion of Champions Slam.

All poets, including out-of-towners, feature entourage, and other carpetbaggers are welcome and encouraged to slam in the open poetry slams. There are dozens of open slams during the year and you won’t be taking anyone’s one and only chance at winning.