What is the Women of the World Poetry Slam?
The Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps) is a four day poetry festival, in which 96 of the best female-identified poets in slam will compete against each other in order to crown the Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. In this event, poets compete in preliminary competitions (referred to as “bouts”) over two nights. The poets with the top 14 scores from those days move on to Finals, where one poet is crowned the champion!
In addition to the competition, each day of the festival features poetry workshops, themed open mics, special nighttime events, and parties. Competition at WOWps is limited to poets who live their lives as women, which includes female assigned or identified individuals who are 18+ or 21+ years of age (depending on the Host City). This includes gender non-conforming individuals. All competing poets must be individual members of Poetry Slam, Inc.
How big is the Women of the World Poetry Slam?
The event is limited to 96 contestants. It’s a small, intimate festival with all the of the excellence and excitement of the much larger National Poetry Slam. But because the event is exclusive, the quality of the competition is…well…the best in the world.
Who can compete in WOWps?
Certified venues have the first right to register, and as many as 72 certified venues can register their rep before the registration opens up to storm poets. Should more than 72 certified venues register a representative, the first 60 will be guaranteed spots, and the remaining certified venues will be considered with the “Storm” poets and registered venues. Once registration opens up for storm poets, the storm poets, the registered venues, and the certified venue reps that came in after the venue deadline are entered into the draw for spots. When we have more people register than we have available spots, the spots are awarded by random draw, which will be conducted the weekend after registration closes.
Qualified poets include female assigned or identified individuals who are PSi members and are 18+ or 21+ years of age, depending on the Host City. This includes gender non-conforming individuals. Poetry Slam, Inc. will set entrance requirements, and restrictions on a yearly basis. Please check poetryslam.com for eligibility requirements prior to the event.
When does WOWps take place?
WOWps is held in March. Preliminary rounds of the competition take place on Thursday and Friday and the Finals on Saturday. There is also a “Last Chance” slam, in which PSi members can compete for the final remaining spot in the competition. To learn more about becoming a PSi member, click here.
Check the official site for dates as soon as they are announced.
What is the format for WOWps?
It is a uniquely structured event and PSi is happy to have modified the typical 3-minute poem format for this tournament. Each poet reads two poems on each preliminary night.
On each night of bouts, the order in which the poets perform in both the first and second rounds is randomly assigned by a draw (which takes place during registration).
Each bout consists of twelve poets, who have been divided into two six-person competition groups (Group A & B), as well as a calibration poet for each round.
Poets read a four-minute (or less) poem in the first round. In the second, they read a one-minute (or less) poem. On the second night of competition, poets will read against a different slate of poets and most of them will be in a different venue. In the first round, they will read a two-minute (or less) poem. In the second round, they will read a three minute (or less) poem.
At the conclusion of each poem, the poet will receive a ranking of 1-6 based on placement within competition groups.
For clarity, this is what a bout would look like:
All poets perform first round, then all poets in same group perform second round with calibration between rounds. [Please note, Poets I-VI are only competing against the other poets in their group and will receive a rank of 1-6 after each round.]
Group B (same MC, BM, & Judges as Group A)
All poets perform first round, then all poets in same group perform second round with calibration between rounds. [Please note, Poets VII-XII are only competing against the other poets in their group and will receive a rank of 1-6 after each round.]
After the preliminary bouts are completed, the poets with the highest scores and ranks advance to the finals. The poet next in line for Finals is designated the calibration poet. All poems in the finals are three-minute (or less) poems. No poems may be repeated during the tournament. Finals for the Individual World Poetry Slam will include the top scoring and ranking poets according to the following scale:
83 or fewer competitors – 12 finalists
84-95 competitors – 13 finalists
96-107 competitors – 14 finalists
108-119 competitors – 15 finalists
120 or more competitors – 16 finalists
All finalists will read in the first round; the seven poets with the highest scores move on to the second round. These seven poets read another poem and the top four go to the final round. These four poets will each read one more poem, and the high score of that round is the Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion. If there is a tie between the top two poets, they read one more poem in a sudden death match, or they agree to share the title. In a sudden death match, judges indicate which poet they prefer by choosing one poet or the other (no scores) and the champion is crowned.