Pacific Tongues has begun the process of decolonizing slam.
What does that mean, you ask?
Spoken Word has always been rooted in the oral traditions of Pacific culture.
The "Slam" competition format was created in a Western construct.

As Pacific Tongues grew, we began to ask, "what does a poetry slam look like in Oceania?"
Slam rules tell us to have no music, no props, no "costumes", to limit words to 3mins.
In some spaces, Pacific poets have even gotten deducted points for speaking their native languages.

We want poets to embrace their culture, language, to embrace props and costumes and music, and extend the words to 5mins. We want to see young voice push spoken word beyond its limits as an art form, as a way to connect/reconnect with culture, as a way to reclaim and make this idea of "slam" our own in Oceania.



1. Tournament style.
Before the slam, teams will pull a number.
There will be pairs of each number in a hat.
(ex. each paper in the hat will be labeled as 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, ect ect)
-The teams that pull the same number will determine the order and who they will be slamming against in a round.
(ex. Kaiser pulls 1A & Farrington pulls 1B. 
They will be going head to head in that order. Which leads us to rounds)

2. Rounds
In Each round 2 teams will slam against one another.
Ex. Round 1: Team 1A (Kaiser) vs. Team 1B (Farrington)
-Kaiser will perform a poem, followed imediately byFarrington.
-The 5 judges then throw up a color/letter card for the poem they prefer.
Ex. 2 Judges throw up Cards that say A (which indicates they vote for Kaiser)
3 judges throw up Cards that say B (Which indicates they vote for Farrington)
Farrington Wins the round & Kaiser is eliminated from the slam.

The team with the more letter/color cards counted wins the round and moves onto the next round.
The slam continues in tournament bracket style until there is only 1 team left.


Color/Letter card:
-5 judges
-Each Judge has 2 Cards. One that says A. One that says B.
Judges will throw up a letter card after every bout of poets perform.
-*(Judges MAY throw up both cards but we STRONGLY suggest NOT to do so.)

Example of the Tournament bracket Style

Example of the Tournament bracket Style


Time lime:
5mins. 10 sec grace period. Poets do not need to use the whole 5mins.
If poems go beyond 5mins 10secs, poets will be deducted 1 color card per 10 secs.

Poets allowed on stage per poem:
Teams are allowed to have as many bodies on a team piece as they want BUT there will only be 4 microphones available to all teams.

-The use of props
-music BUT please know that to hook music up to a sound system is not available ( this rule is more specifically for the Doris Duke Theatre where the Team Slam is held on 03/26/17)
-Poets are allowed to bring their own instruments
-Poets CAN cover poems BUT they MUST acknowledge and announce it before the poem begins.

-Repeating poems

How Many Poems Should I Bring To a Slam?
- To be safe, each poet or team should bring 4 - 6 poems.