Return to World Qualifier (IWPS)

World Qualifier rules and format

Qualification period for the 2016 World Qualifier slams is now closed. The 2017 qualifications will begin in August of 2016, with selection slams beginning in the springtime of 2017.

Semi-Finals will be two rounds long with short time limits (2- and 1-minute poems) and Finals will be four rounds with standard or longer time limits (3- and 4-minute poems). There will be no elimination between rounds on any night. Poets must have six unique poems (not counting one two-minute tie-breaker, if necessary) to win.

What follow are the official rules for the World Qualifier slams. The number of rounds and advancing poets are subject to change, depending on competitor attendance at the semi-finals.

World Qualifier Slam Rules (both nights)

  • Only qualified poets listed on the website may slam.
  • Poets who wish to slam will check in to draw no later than 9:00 p.m.
  • Poets will have to pay the cover charge.
  • Competing poets may not read in or host any portion of the open mic or slam.
  • Competing poets may not work the door, wait tables, or bartend.
  • Five judges (or teams of judges) will be selected from the audience by the slam host and bout manager. Up to two of these judges may be Boston Poetry Slam “regulars” per the discretion of the slam host and bout manager. All judges will be encouraged to choose poetry over performance.
  • Scores are not cumulative between nights; each night is clean slate.
  • For both nights, all IWPS rules apply: original work, no props, no costumes, no music, penalties levied for exceeding the time limit.
  • World Qualifier Semi-Finals Rules and Format

    • All poets who have qualified to slam, even those who do not intend to represent the venue at IWPS, are encouraged to slam.
    • Poets may use any original poem in their repertoire, including poems used in previous open slams and poems used to qualify in previous years.
    • There will be at least one warm-up poet, then two rounds of slam, with the order drawn randomly for each round. Whether there is a break between rounds or not is left to the discretion of the host and bout manager.
    • Round one will have a time limit of 2:00 and round two will have a time limit of 1:00. There is a 10-second grace period in each round.
    • The top cumulative scorers will advance to finals the following week. If there is a tie for the final spot to advance, all tied poets will advance.

    World Qualifier Finals Rules and Format

    • Poets who slam in the finals are considered committed to representing the venue at the Individual World Poetry Slam. Poets who are not interested in representing the venue at IWPS may not slam in finals.
    • Poets may not use poems they used in the previous week’s semi-final.
    • There will be at least one warm-up poet, then four rounds of slam. As long as all judges can continue, there will be no break between rounds.
    • Round one will be seeded by low to high finish in the World Qualifier Semi-Finals. Rounds two, three, and four are random draw.
    • Rounds one, two, and four will have a time limit of 3:00. Round THREE will have a time limit of 4:00. There is a 10-second grace period in all rounds.
    • Top poets in each round advance. Scores are not cumulative between rounds. In the case of ties to advance, all poets tied for the last advancing slot will advance.
    • If there is a tie for the winner of the fourth round, all tied poets will return to the stage for another 2:00 round. The order will be the same as the fourth round. The top scoring poet of the tie-breaking round will represent the venue at IWPS.

The following is expected of the poet who qualifies to represent the venue at the Individual World Poetry Slam:

  • Attendance at the next IWPS, pending PSi approval of the venue’s application to IWPS.
  • Financial responsibility for travel and stay at IWPS (beyond whatever the venue is able to raise), assuming attendance.

If the poet is unable to fulfill these responsibilities, or the poet declares a preference to not represent the venue at IWPS, another poet will be chosen.

The replacement hierarchy for the IWPS representative is as follows:

  1. The next available top scorer in the final round of the World Qualifier Finals.
  2. The current Champion of Champions of the 8×8 series.
  3. The next available top scorer in the previous rounds of the World Qualifier Finals.
  4. The next available top scorer in the World Qualifier Semi-Finals.
  5. The top scorer in an open poetry slam held exclusively for the purpose of choosing a new representative, if time and venue constraints allow.
  6. The next available top scorer in the final rounds of the most recent Team Selection Finals.
  7. The next available top scorer in the most recent Team Selection Semi-Finals.
  8. The next available least recent winner of the open poetry slam since the Team Selection slams.
  9. Open vote among all interested parties, wherein said parties may not vote for themselves. Ties will be broken by the vote of the SlamMaster.