Poetry Slam, Inc.
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Poetry Slam, Inc. (PSI) is a non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams. Established in 1997, PSI is responsible for making poetry slam more visible and accessible to the world via its flagship events: National Poetry Slam (NPS), Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS), and the Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps). Their mission is "to promote the performance and creation of poetry while cultivating literary activities and spoken word events in order to build audience participation, stimulate creativity, awaken minds, foster education, inspire mentoring, encourage artistic statement and engage communities worldwide in the revelry of language".
Though poetry slams are maintained in a growing number of cities by local volunteer organizers, the vast majority of slam series follow the rules established by PSI, PSI's founders and its members. Because of slam's exponential growth as an art form, PSI has emerged not only as an administrative body to maintain the rules which govern slams, but as an organization that seeks to grow slam's audience and protect slam's interests. The Executive Council, headed by a seven-member board of poets and slam organizers, plus a paid executive director, and voted on by representatives of local slams (SlamMasters) every two years, maintains a watch on poetry slam series worldwide, ensuring that slam remains an art form open to all competitors. Through the certification process and its annual organizational meetings, PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets who are in frequent communication with one another, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam. Poets from the community frequently embark on poetry tours in other cities, relying on each other to set up the organizational framework necessary for such tours to be successful.
Recently PSI sought to improve the general public knowledge of slams through various projects such as the creation of an official website and of a summer workshop at SUNY-Oneota, the staging of slams on a major cable television network, and the organization each year of regional officially sanctioned team competitions in numerous host cities converging the more talented participants on the annual National Poetry Slam.
Poetry Slam, Inc. came into existence on August 9, 1997. On November 9, 1999 PSI became an official State of Illinois Charitable Trust, and days later PSI was granted official tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Service Code, retroactive to the day of its inception.
The goals set by the Amended Articles of Incorporation include educational and literary purposes such as:
- «advocate, promote, support, witness, and/or perpetuate the art of performance poetry»,
- «enhance the perception of literary merit and legitimacy of performance poetry as an art form»,
- «protect the artistic and financial interests of the National Poetry Slam community».