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Guidelines for WORD UP! 2016
Student Poetry Slam

Where: Arrington Auditorium, Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place
When: Saturday, April 10, 2016 at 3 p.m.

This contest is open to students enrolled in high school (grades 9-12) or home-schooled in Jefferson County. The participants in the WORD UP! student poetry slam will be the winners of the contests held at their schools. Each school is responsible for holding its own contest and selecting a winner and two runners-up. Depending on the number of schools that sign on to participate, we may ask each school to send the top winner OR the winner and first runner-up to the April 10 contest.

  • The deadline for schools to sign on to participate is February 17, 2016
  • Please designate a contact person for the contest and e-mail that person's name, school, phone number, and e-mail address to Haruyo Miyagawa (, Arts/Literature/Sports Department, Birmingham Public Library.
  • Each participating school will hold its own contest and select a first, second, and third place winner and submit a WORD UP! entry form for the top three winners by March 27, 2015.  WORD UP! Entry Form
  • The poem must be the contestant's own creation and be inspired by the theme "Speak out"
  • The performance must be appropriate for all ages. No profanity allowed.
  • Contestants need to arrive at the Birmingham Public Library by 2:15 p.m. on the day of the contest.
  • Each poet will have three minutes to perform (with a 10-second grace period). Time yourself! One point will be subtracted for every 10 seconds over the time limit.
  • Contestants are not allowed to read the poems or to have a copy of the poems with them during the performance.
  • Contestants may rap the poem(s).
  • No instruments or props may be used.
  • No costumes are allowed.
  • Only individual/solo performances will be allowed. No groups or duos.
  • A panel of three judges will select the winners. Contestants will be judged on content and performance.

WORD UP! Judging Criteria