II. Teams and Individuals
Teams must be chosen from an ongoing slam or reading series open to all poets regardless of age, sex, race, ability, appearance, or sexual orientation. All certified/registered venues are expected to uphold the Equal Opportunity Statement. Team members must be chosen through some form of competition; how that competition is structured is up to the local venue or SlamMaster so long as anyone who considers him/herself to be a part of the community fielding the slam team has the competitive opportunity to join it.
Because Poetry Slam is growing, not all certified venues can necessarily be included in the National Poetry Slam. To accommodate as many poets as possible, from as diverse a geographic base as can be achieved, some certified Poetry Slams will be encouraged to share an invitation to the National Poetry Slam. A person participating at the NPS can only be either a member of one and only one team.
Duos, trios, quartets and quintets (otherwise known as team, group, or collaborative pieces) are allowed, even encouraged, so long as all of the primary authors perform them. Refer to Section VI (Definitions) for further clarification on primary authorship.
- A group piece may feature two to five performers.
- All primary authors of a given poem must take part in the performance of that poem. However, not all performers of a given poem need to claim primary authorship of that poem. In this way, it is possible for one person to claim primary authorship over a three-person performance, and it is also possible for three people to share primary authorship of a three-person group piece. It is not, however, possible for three people to share authorship of a piece with only one performer.
- Every poet who performs during a bout must be able to claim primary authorship of at least one poem during that bout.
- By the end of a bout, each team's poem selection must represent at least four primary authors, and each poem must represent a different primary author. If a five-person team wishes to have all of its members perform during a bout, at least one of the four poems performed during the bout must have two or more primary authors such that all team members are represented.
- A poet who claims sole authorship of a poem performed in a bout may not claim sole authorship of any other poem during that bout, regardless of the number of performers in either poem, except in the case of a tiebreaker. They may, however, share authorship.
Teams that violate this rule will receive a score of zero for the offending rotation.
By the end of the registration period all teams must designate 4 or 5 poets as their team members. Teams may use their poets in any combination allowed by all other rules in their preliminary rounds. There shall be no substitutions for registered team members after the end of the registration period. Any team violating this rule will be disqualified.