Poetry Slam

Spring Poetry Slam 2013 Results:

Congratulations to John Byrne, Danielle Turner, Luke Buffington for placing first, second, and third respectively in our spring slam on February 13th.

We also would like to thank all of the other competitors who made this show possible. And a big thank you to Pat McEvoy, who hosted his first Creighton slam with us this spring.  

A slam team may be in the making. If you are interested in getting involved with Poetry Slams contact: SarahGarro@creighton.edu


What is a Poetry Slam?:

The poetry slam is an Olympic-style poetry contest, created in Chicago in 1985 and now an international phenomenon.

Using friendly competition to gather the best and brightest young writers from within Creighton University (and the Omaha Area), the poetry slam is a safe space that emphasizes community building, education, and youth empowerment. By carrying on the rich tradition of oral storytelling and the spoken word, the CU poetry slam encourages Creighton students to share stories, break stereotypes, and speak the truth, challenging themselves and their audience.

Slam Rules and Guidelines:

  • Poetry slams consist of 3 rounds. During the 1st Round all participating poets perform, in the 2nd, roughly half of the poets are eliminated, and in the 3rd and final Round, only the remaining 3 poets slam. The participant with the highest score from this round is the winner, and is usually given the opportunity to perform one final poem.
  • Poetry slams are not just poetry readings; they are competitions. Judges for the slam are selected randomly from the audience (Judges are in no way affiliated with the poets who participate in the slam.) Judges are given criteria for judging poems based on performance as well as the content and style of the poem.


  • Each piece must be under 3 minutes in length. Scores will be penalized for going over the time limit. Penalties will begin at 3:10.
  • Each participant must perform a piece of his or her own original writing. Participants that plagiarize will be disqualified.
  • Props and/or musical accompaniment may not be used in the slam.
  • Poets must come prepared with at least 3 poems.
  • A different poem must be performed in each Round (a poem may not be repeated).
  • Content matter may not exceed a PG-13 rating (avoid excessive violence, sexually explicit content and /or language that is degrading to any group of people). Failure to heed the PG-13 rating will result in disqualification.
  • No profanity and PG-13 language is expected. Violations will result in penalty.


  • We encourage you to memorize the poems you will compete with, although it is not required.
  • Performances will be judged on both written and performance qualities. Keep this in mind when preparing.
  • Don't start until you are ready. Make sure the mics are well-placed and that the audience and judges can hear you.  Once you begin, your time begins, so be sure you are utilizing all your available resources on stage.  A bout manager will be there to assist you with what you need.
  • Rehearse! Be certain that you are audible and understandable.
  • Material that is offensive to individuals or groups of people may cause you to lose points with judges.
  • Be respectful of yourself, the youth writing community and the group you represent.
  • Bring people out to support you when you perform.