Slam Certification FAQ

What is the difference between Certification and Registration?

Most ongoing Poetry Slams with Poetry Slam, Inc. are Certified. That means they have full local membership support and first access to all events. A few fail to meet one or more criteria for “Certification” and are still called “Registered.” Registered venues have all the benefits of association with PSi, with the exception of first access to send representatives to PSi Events. Registered venues may participate in these events, depending on availability. Certified and Registered venues both have the opportunity to participate in the PSi GrantBack Program.

What are the benefits of Certification/Registration?


  1. Being involved in the fastest growing literary arts movement on the planet is the first one.
  2. Access to the SlamMaster Forums where all the certified and registered slams on the planet share information about how to run your series, who is on tour, fundraising ideas and policy issues about PSI events and operations. It is the best resource a SlamMaster can access.
  3. The ability to vote in SlamMaster Council meetings. Each venue gets one vote to help determine what the rules of Slam are, what policies and procedures need to be reviewed, who will sit on the Executive Council and more. PSI really IS a grassroots non-profit organization.
  4. The ability to set up and administer your own GrantBack Account where you can use PSI’s 501(c)(3) status as an umbrella for your local efforts to raise money and find sponsors for your local Slam.
  5. It might sound a little high-minded, but certification or registration gets you intimately associated with a GREAT community of poets and performers. This might be the best reason to sign up.
  6. The opportunity to bid on hosting any of PSI’s prestigious events. National Poetry Slam in August, Individual World Poetry Slam in February, or the Women of the World Poetry Slam in March.
  7. Certified Slams can make application to send a team to NPS or an individual to WOWps or iWPS.

How do I get Certified?

Ah! The paperwork!

  1. Become a member of PSI.
  2. Read the Equal Opportunity Statement.
  3. Pay the annual Certification fee.
    • The fee for a new Certification is $125
    • Renewals before December 31 are $50
    • Late renewal (between Jan 1 and Jan 31) is $75
    • If a previously certified venue fails to renew by January 31, they must come back in at the new Certification fee
    • If you are applying for new certification (or have allowed your certification to lapse) you will also have to send at least six pieces of evidence to PSI to demonstrate that you meet the criteria for certification.

What constitutes “evidence?”

The following items constitute acceptable pieces of evidence:

  1. Website. Different from Facebook or Myspace that is specific to your Slam.
  2. Facebook or Myspace. A Slam page on one of these fine social networks.
  3. Flyers. Advertising your weekly, monthly or bi-monthly Slam. Fliers should have dates and venue location on them.
  4. News Clippings. Whether it be an online news source, your local news paper, monthly artist magazine or other print/web based news network in your area.
  5. Venue Notice. A letter from your venue, a blurb on the venue’s webpage about your Slam, or advertising from your venue about your Slam.
  6. Score Sheets. Must include the date of Slam and a sign off of all of the Slam participants.
  7. Video. Must show the venue name/logo of the venue/Slam in the background, must have a date, must show the Slam as a whole and not just a poet on the stage.
  8. Photos. Must have a date stamp on them and must have the venue name/logo in the background.
  9. Site Visit. This can be done by a SlamMaster of a Slam that has been a SM of a Certified Venue for a minimum of two consecutive years. The visiting SlamMaster will complete a letter and send it to the Executive Director describing the atmosphere of the venue, the Slam and the over all experience of the Slam.

New Venues and Lapsed Venues must submit six (6) pieces of evidence from six (6) different Slams to PSi. SlamMasters may submit six (6) different kinds of evidence but they must submit at least four (4) different kinds of evidence listed from above.

How many slams do I have to hold?

The minimum is six during the “Slam season.” Generally, “season” means from the conclusion of the previous NPS event and June 1 of the following year.

Does my poetry series have to be exclusively for Slams?

No. Many certified slams hold their events with a concurrent open mic. Many begin thier shows with an open mic and add a featured poet later in the evening. You only have to show that yours is an ongoing poetry event and that you have held at least six slams open to all.

Are there other minimum requirements?

Yes, your audience must average 30 or more and you must meet the requirements laid out in the Equal Opportunity Statement (remember that from the paperwork above?).