BHS 2019 Poetry Slam

Poetry Slam

Wordsmiths of Berlin Poetry Slam 2019


     Berlin High School’s writing club, the Wordsmiths of Berlin, will be hosting its 5th annual POETRY SLAM on Saturday, December 14th, at 7 p.m. in the Berlin High School auditorium.  The Poetry Slam is a poetry performance competition in which contestants either read or recite their original poetry to the audience. Each poem must be no more than three minutes in length, and each contestant will need two poems, as there will be two rounds.

     Poetry is a wonderful means of expression...of giving creative voice to ideas, emotions, and any number of thematic narratives or descriptions. The Poetry Slam provides a venue for local poets to share their poetry with an audience. 

     Poetry Slam is, at its core, a competition.  Contestants will be vying for the first- and second-place trophies and to get their names on the Poetry Slam Winners’ plaque in the Wordsmith’s display case at BHS.  Five judges for the event will be selected on the night of competition from volunteers among the audience members. Judges do not need to be poetry experts to be effective judges in determining good poetry.  The guidelines for “good poetry” that I give students in my classes are that it: (1) looks like poetry, (2) sounds like poetry, and (3) has something to say. As the slam is a performance of poetry, the poems’ “look” is irrelevant.  Therefore, judges basically ask themselves: (1) “Did it sound like poetry?” and (2) “Did I react to what it had to say?” The way in which the poetry is presented will certainly impact the audience’s and judges’ reactions.

     Poetry submissions must be shared electronically with me, Mr. Reise, at or my co-advisor, Cory Willhite at at least two days prior to the contest.  We ask that contestants please include a message with the submission that clearly identifies it as a submission for the Poetry Slam. Contestants will receive an email confirmation of their entry to the contest. Poets are asked to avoid obscenities or graphic sexual content in their poetry. No musical accompaniment or technical enhancements are allowed during the performances.

     This contest is not limited to Berlin High School students.  Any area poets of high school age or older are also welcome to compete.  Our winners and runners up in recent years have included a local adult poet and a student poet from another high school. We are eager to embrace an eclectic mix of poets in this contest, so please consider joining us.  We are hoping for a good turn out, so whether you plan to be a poet participant or not, we encourage you all to come out and become part of our audience. You may even end up as one of our judges.

  • Andy Reise, Wordsmiths of Berlin advisor

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