Grand Slam: National Poetry Competition Coming to Denver

Got something that you need to get off your chest ladies? Looking for a new way to express yourselves? Slam poetry could be your calling…or at least an awesome event to check out. Denver has been selected as the host of the 2012 Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps) which will be held March 7–10, 2012—this will be the biggest poetry slam event ever to be hosted in the state of Colorado. “‘Opening up our arms and welcoming the international slam poetry community to our city is a great honor—and responsibility,’” says Host City Co-Chair and 2011 WOWps 3rd place finalist Suzi Q. Smith, ‘“I look forward to working with Denver’s arts and business communities to make this event a huge success.’”

What exactly is slam poetry? Smith explains that, “Slam poetry is a competitive performance-poetry movement born to Marc Kelly Smith in Chicago in the mid-eighties. Poets sign up to read their own original work in three minutes or less [typically], while five random audience members are chosen to judge.” Judges use a scale of 1–10 to judge the contestants and those with the highest scores advance. The poet with the highest score at the end of the third round is crowned the winner. No props or costumes are permitted for the contestants.

The WOWps tournament is originated for and facilitated by women and serves to honor women, and the popularity of WOWps only continues to grow: “The Women of the World Poetry Slam is open to 72 competitors from around the world. This year, 98 [women] signed up, which means that we have a significant waiting list,” notes Smith. Event attendees can watch the preliminary poetry slams where the 72 women will be judged on their original poems, presentation, and creativity and compete for 12 Finals’ spots.

Over the four-day period, WOWps offers numerous day events like open mics, haiku competitions, writing and marketing workshops, and a youth poetry slam, while the evening provides open mics and team slam competitions. Most of the day events are free or are complimentary with a Denver Art Museum admission, and the majority of the night events cost around $5. Smith suggests not missing the festival kick-off event, The Last Chance Slam, Saturday’s workshops and open mic events, and, of course, the Women of the World Poetry Slam Finals. During the Slam Finals, which takes place from 7–10 p.m. at the Denver Art Museum, 12 women will be whittled down in three rounds to produce a sole slam champion who will receive a trophy, cash prize, and major bragging rights. If you can’t slam it out, you can always dance it out at the dance-party afterparty at Stoney’s Bar & Grill following the Slam Finals.


Want to get tickets ahead of time?
Women of the World Poetry Slam Finals tickets are available online for $25.


Denver Art Museum
100 West 14th Avenue Parkway

Stoney’s Bar & Grill
1111 Lincoln Street

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