Tickets $10, available at the door | Festival Passes OK | No Brattle Passes
Part super bowl, part poetry summer camp, and part traveling exhibition, the National Poetry Slam is the annual poetry slam championship tournament, where teams from all over North America and Europe gather to compete against each other for the national title. Staged in a different city each year, the National Poetry Slam has emerged as slam’s highest-profile showcase.
This year’s National Poetry Slam takes place in Boston and Cambridge, August 9–13. Up to eighty-four teams will compete for the honor of being named National Poetry Slam Champions by PSi.
What is poetry slam? Poetry slam is conventionally defined as the art of competitive performance poetry. Invented in the 1980s by a Chicago construction worker named Marc Smith, slam is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Performers use all the tricks of storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up comedy, and cold hard poetry to wheedle points out of the judges from 0.0 (terrible) to 10.0 (perfect!).