• Santa Barbara County Poetry Slam

  • DATE:

    • May 10, 2023

More About Slam Poetry and Spoken Word

  • In Encyclopedia Britannica, Meliza Banales writes that the concept of slam poetry seems to have originated in the 1980’s in Chicago, Illinois, when a local poet and construction worker, Marc Kelly Smith, feeling that poetry readings and poetry in general had lost their true passion, had an idea to bring poetry back to the people. (Banales, Meliza. "slam poetry". Encyclopedia Britannica)

    A common question is: What is the difference between Slam Poetry and the Spoken Word?  Slam poetry or a Poetry Slam, is a competition arts event in the form of performance poetry, which combines the elements of performance, writing, competition and audience participation.  It is often performed in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. The performances at a poetry slam are judged as much on enthusiasm and style as content.  Poets may compete as individuals or in teams.  (Banales, Meliza. "slam poetry". Encyclopedia Britannica)

    Spoken Word Poetry (also known as performance poetry), is simple poetry that is written to be performed.  All slam poetry is spoken word, but not all spoken word poetry is written to be performed at slams.  Spoken word poetry does contain the artist’s thoughts and emotions, and is written in a way that will provoke a reaction from the audience.

  • If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Rachel Lawton at rlawton@sbceo.org.

  • Santa Barbara Poetry Slam Logo


  • Poetry Slam Finalist Is Santa Barbara County's First Poet Laureate

2022 Poetry Slam Winners

  • Makai Copado

    1st place: Makai Copado
    Pioneer Valley High School

    Madeline Miller

    2nd place: Madeline Miller
    San Marcos High School

    Steven Villanueva

    3rd place: Steven Villanueva
    Righetti HighSchool

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