The opinions about poetry on E2 are loud and, well, opinionated. Some noders thrive off of the lyrical word while others downvote at even a whiff of lyricism. Still others are organizing to form 'The Anti-Teen-Angst Association' vowing to wash all nodes clean of such graffiti. Whatever your opinion of poetry in general, a poetry slam is just plain fun, and the Berkeley Slam gets to have an audience that is loud, expressive and in love with its poets.

Slammin starts at about 8:30 every Wednesday at the Starry Plough located at 3101 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley of course. Pauses between each poet are filled with the jazz-stylings of Three Blind Mice, and a variety of beer and cider is readily available on tap. Poets compete for cash prizes and the chance at joining the Berkely team to compete in regional and then national competitions. Poetic voice varies from rage to political to painful to insightful yet all are visceral.

Slams throughout the year culminate in the Berzerkeley Slam Finals. These are the rules:

  1. H A V E  F U N
  2. Compete to uplift, not defeat. Leave your ego at the door.
    "The point is not the point, the point is the poetry!"
  3. P O E M S
  4. 1 original poem per round, under 3 minutes.
    10 second grace period (3:10), then 0.1 penalty per 0:01.
    Time begins at first utterance!
  5. C O N T E N T
  6. Any content, any style.
    No music. Singing is OK. No costumes or props.
  7. J U D G I N G
  8. 5 judges selected from audience by lottery.
    Poems judged on 1-10 scale with tenths.
    High and low scores are dropped.
    Poets can be disqualified for attitude. If you can't shake hands afterwards, somebody's got a bad attitude.
    Ties will be broken by another full poem by each poet.
  9. H E C K L I N G
  10. Good-natured heckling from the audience and judges is great, but intimidation is not only rude, it's weak.
  11. P R I Z E S
  12. The top 4 poets earn a paid trip to the National Poetry Slam.
    The top 4 poets advance to the United Finals to face San Francisco's top 4 poets, to select a team to compete at Nationals.
  13. R O T A T I O N
  14. There will be three full rounds.
    Poets will be assigned position by lottery.
    Rotation is:
    Round 1 : A B C D E F G H
    Round 2 : F G H A B C D E
    Round 3 : D E F G H A B C
    Scores will be cumulative for the entire night.

The Bay Area combined team is consistently one of the most feared teams at Nationals each year, managing to nearly always place in the top five.

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