National Poetry Slam

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The National Poetry Slam (NPS) is a performance poetry competition where teams from across the United States, Canada, and France participate in a large-scale poetry slam. The event occurs in early August every year and takes place in a different U.S. city.


The first ever National Poetry Slam took place in 1990 in San Francisco.[1] It was organized by poet Gary Mex Glazner and featured three competing ]), New York (Nuyorican), and San Francisco (host city).[1] It has been held every year since. 2014).[2]

From 1990 to 2007, the National Poetry Slam held an "individual" poetry competition (known as "indies") simultaneously with the team competition, with the poets earning the highest ranking individual poems during the first two days of competition moving on the semifinal and final rounds. The first ever winner of this event was Patricia Smith, who would go on to win the Individual National Poetry Slam Championship title a record four times.[3]

Starting in 2004, Poetry Slam Inc. (PSI) decided to host a separate event called the Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS), in which solo poets (not teams of poets) competed for the championship title.[4] Because of the popularity of iWPS and to avoid the confusion of two "individual" poetry slam titles being awarded ever year, Poetry Slam Inc. decided to cancel the "indie" competition at the National Poetry Slam.[5]

In 2008, the "Indie Finals" was replaced with the "Group Piece Finals," in which the teams with the highest ranking group pieces (multi-voice poems featuring more than one poet) competed for the title. Only teams who weren't already eligible for NPS semifinals were allowed to compete, with New York, NYC-Urbana being the first Group Piece Finals championship team.

Also in 2008, the Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) was introduced, in which only female and female-identified poets are allowed to compete.[6] The first WOWPS was held in Detroit, Michigan and the first WOWPS champion was Andrea Gibson.[7]

In 2009, poet Harlym 125 created an unofficial individual competition called the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) as a response to the absence of an individual competition at NPS.[8] The winner of this competition has traditionally been given a showcase spot on the finals stage at NPS.

The National Poetry Slam has also been the subject of several feature-length documentaries, including the 1998 Paul Devlin film SlamNation, and the 2006 Kyle Fuller and Mike Henry film Slam Planet.

National Poetry Slam Results by Year[edit]

Team Finalists[3][9][edit]

Year Winner Runners Up Number of Competing Teams Host City
2014 D.C. Beltway Poetry Slam[10] (2) New York, NYC-Urbana
(3) Slam New Orleans
(4) Denver, Slam Nuba
72 Oakland, CA
2013 Slam New Orleans[11] (2) Hollywood (Da Poetry Lounge)
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) Elevated! San Diego, CA
70 Boston, MA
2012 Slam New Orleans[12] (2) Killeen, TX
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) Hollywood (Da Poetry Lounge)
72 Charlotte, NC
2011 Denver, Slam Nuba (2) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(3) Providence Poetry Slam
(4) Columbus OH, Writing Wrongs
76 Boston, MA
2010 St. Paul, Soapboxing (2) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(3) Durham N.C., Bull City Slam Team
(4) Austin, Neo Soul
78 St. Paul, MN
2009 St. Paul, Soapboxing (2) Albuquerque, ABQ Slams
(3) San Francisco
(4) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
68 West Palm Beach, FL
2008 Charlotte, SlamCharlotte (2) New York, louderARTS
(3) Austin
(4) Boston, Cantab
75 Madison, WI
2007 Charlotte, SlamCharlotte (2) Killeen, TX Rhyme or Die
(3) New York, louderARTS
(4) Denver, Slam Nuba
(5) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
76 Austin, TX
2006 Denver (2) Austin, Southflavas
(3) New York, louderARTS
(4) DC-Baltimore
(5) Miami
75 Austin, TX
2005 Albuquerque, ABQ Slams (2) Charlotte, Slam Charlotte
(3) Fort Worth
(3) Hollywood (Da Poetry Lounge)
75 Albuquerque, NM
2004 Hollywood (Da Poetry Lounge) (2) Denver
(3) Dallas
(4) Berkeley
69 St. Louis, MO
2003 Los Angeles (2) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(3) Austin
(4) Oakland
63 Chicago, IL
2002 New York, NYC-Urbana/ Detroit (Tie) (3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) Seattle
54 Minneapolis, MN
2001 Dallas (2) Los Angeles
(3) Seattle
(4) New York, NYC-Urbana
56 Seattle, WA
2000 New York, NYC-Urbana (2) San Antonio
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) New York, louderARTS
56 Providence, RI
1999 San Francisco & San Jose (Tie) (3) New York, louderARTS (4) Oakland 48 Chicago, IL
1998 New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe (2) Dallas
(3) Los Angeles
(4) Cleveland
45 Austin, TX
1997 New York, Mouth Almighty (2) Chicago, Green Mill
(3) Cleveland
(4) Worcester
33 Middleton, CT
1996 Providence (2) Berwyn
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) Austin
27 Portland, OR
1995 Asheville (2) Cleveland
(3) Boston
(4) Maine
27 Ann Arbor, MI
1994 Cleveland (2) Boston
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(4) Asheville
24 Asheville, NC
1993 Boston (2) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(3) Cambridge
(4) Cleveland
23 San Francisco, CA
1992 Boston (2) San Francisco
(3) Ann Arbor
17 Boston, MA
1991 Chicago, Green Mill (2) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
(3) San Francisco
(4) Boston
8 Chicago, IL
1990 Chicago, Green Mill (2) San Francisco
(3) New York, Nuyorican Poets Cafe
3 San Francisco, CA

Individual Finalists at NPS[3][edit]

Year Winner Runners Up

*Final year Indies held
Danny Sherrard (2) Christopher Michael
(3) Shannon Leigh
(4) Alvin Lau
(Other finalists: Kealoha, Michael Guinn, 6 is 9, Ed Mabrey, Oz, Robbie Q. Telfer)
2006 Anis Mojgani (2) Alvin Lau
(3) Jon Goode
(4) Lee Knight Jr.
(Other finalists: Erin Jackson, Jamie Kilstein, Amy Weaver, Iyeoka Okoawo, Falu, Travis Watkins)
2005 Janean Livingston Anis Mojgani (tie) (3) Ragan Fox
(4) Christa Bell
(Other finalists: Jamie Kennedy, Eric Darby, Xero Skidmore)
2004 Sonya Renee (2) Jaylee Alde
(3) Shane Koyczan
(4) Andrea Gibson
(5) Chunky
(6) Kimberley Brazwell
(7) Rives, Alvin Lau, Janean Livingston
2003 Mighty Mike McGee (2) Shane Koyczan
(3) Delisle
(4) Soul Evans
(5) Omari
(6) Suzy La Follette
(7) Corina Delgado
(8) Anis Mojgani
(9) Da Shade
(10) Jive Poetic
2002 Sekou tha Misfit (2) Corbet Dean
(3) Kamal Symonette-Dixon
(4) Xero Skidmore
(5) Rives
(6) Gina Loring
(7) Shane Koyczan
(8) Joel Chmara
2001 Mayda del Valle (2) Beau Sia
(3) Shawn V.
(4) Morris Stegosaurus
(5) Angela Boyce
(6) Mama Blue
2000 Shane Koyczan (2) Bryonn Bain
(3) Al Letson
(4) Iyeoka Okoawo
(5) Michael Cirelli
(6) Bao Thien Buc Phi
1999 Roger Bonair-Agard (2) Regie Gibson
(3) Gayle Danley
(4) Jason Carney
(5) Ray McNiece
(6) Shane Koyczan
1998 Reggie Gibson (2) Derrick C. Brown
(3) Brian Comiskey
(4) Sara Holbrook
(5) Cass King
(6) Patricia Johnson
1997 Da Boogie Man (2) DJ Renegade
(3) Glenis Redmond
(4) Evert Eden
(5) Jerry Quickley
(6) Monica Copeland
1996 Patricia Johnson (2) Evert Eden
(3) Taylor Mali
(4) DJ Renegade
(5) Wammo
(6) Glenis Redmond
1995 Patricia Smith (2) Wammo
(3) Da Boogie Man
(4) ?
(5) DJ Renegade
(6) Taylor Mali
1994 Gayle Danley (2) Carl Hancock-Rux
(3) Regie Cabico
(4) Derick Prosper
(5) DJ Renegade
(6) Daniel Gray-Kontar
1993 Patricia Smith (2)Lisa Buscani
(3) The Invisible Man aka Azeem (rapper)
1992 Lisa Buscani (2) Patricia Smith
(3) Dana Bryant
1991 Patricia Smith (2) Lisa Buscani
(3) Michael Brown
1990 Patricia Smith (2) Paul Beatty

Group Piece Finalists at NPS[3][edit]

Year Winner Runners Up
2014 Hear, Hear! Poetry Slam[13] (2) Austin Neo Soul
(3) WU Slam (St. Louis)
(4) Philly Pigeon
(5) Palo Alto
(6) Verbal Slap
(7) Lethal Poetry (Chicago)
(8) Denver Mercury
(9) Battle Born (Las Vegas, NV)
(10) Boise Poetry Slam
2013 Austin Neo Soul / Intangible Slam (tie)[14] (3) Java Monkey / Houston VIP (tie)
(5) Hear Here (Colorado Springs, CO)
(6) Battle Born (Las Vegas, NV)
(7) Seattle Poetry Slam (Seattle, WA)
(8) Dallas Poetry Slam (Dallas, TX)
(9) Salt City Slam (Salt Lake City, UT)
(10) Sedona Poetry Slam (Sedona, AZ)
2012 Austin Neo Soul[15] (2) Bull City Slam
(3) ABQ Slams
(4) Dallas Poetry Slam
(5) Piedmont Poetry Slam
(6) Burlington Slam Project
(7) Jersey City Poetry Slam
(8) Loser Slam
(9) Vancouver Poetry Slam
(10) Urbana
2011 ABQ Slams (Other finalists: Austin Poetry Slam, The Intangible Slam(New York City), Dallas Poetry Slam, Elevated! (San Diego), Houston Poetry Slam, Knoxville Poetry Slam, Austin Neo Soul, Houston VIP, and Eclectic Truth (Baton Rouge))
2010 Slam New Orleans (Other finalists: Pomona, Santa Cruz, Oakland, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Fort Worth, Ocotillo, Seattle, Urbana, and Toronto)
2009 Berkeley Poetry Slam[16] (2) Seattle Poetry Slam
(Other finalists: Fort Worth Poetry Slam, West Palm Beach- The Stage, Atlanta- Art Amok, California- Life Sentence Slam, New Jersey- Loser Slam, Toronto Poetry Slam, SLC- Salt City Slam, and Amarillo- Slamarillo)
2008 NYC-Urbana (2) Slam Nahuatl Richmond VA
(3) Killeen Texas
(4) Cleveland
(Other finalists: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Honolulu, Chicago-Green Mill, Phoenix, Lincroft, Seattle, and Fort Worth)

National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) Champion[edit]

Year Winner Runner Up
2014 Danez Smith Tim "Toaster" Henderson
2013 Dominique Ashaheed Jared Singer
2012 Marty McConnell Mckendy Fils-Aimé
2011 Rachel McKibbens Carrie Rudzinski
2010 Eboni Hogan Omoizele "Oz" Okoawo
2009 Rudy Francisco J. W. "Baz" Basilo

Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS)[edit]

Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe. (2008). Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. Soft Skull Press. "Chapter Six: Playing Nice; The First National Poetry Slam" Page 45. ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
  2. ^ Aptowicz, Cristin O'Keefe. (2008). Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam. Soft Skull Press. "New York City Poetry Slam Teams" Page 366-369. ISBN 1-933368-82-9.
  3. ^ a b c d Poetry Slam, Inc. Website: Past NPS Winners page
  4. ^ Poetry Slam, Inc. Website: iWPS page
  5. ^ Poetry Slam, Inc. Website: NPS FAQ page
  6. ^ Poetry Slam, Inc. Website: WOWPS page
  7. ^ Poetry Slam, Inc. Website: WOWPS News page
  8. ^ Spread the word.....there will be an Underground Indi's at Nat's....
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Team Finals PSI Scores". 
  11. ^ "Team Finals PSI Scores". 
  12. ^ "Team Finals PSI Scores". 
  13. ^ "NPS 2014 Group Piece Finals PSI Scores". 
  14. ^ "NPS 2013 Group Piece Finals PSI Scores". 
  15. ^ "NPS 2012 Group Piece Finals PSI Scores". 
  16. ^ "Complete Team Rankings". 

External links[edit]