I am NOT a poet

Boring Verbose Details about Finals & Team Creation

Slam Season—
Our Slam is [mostly] on the 1st Wednesday of Every Month.  The Slam signup starts at 6:30pm and stops SHARPLY at 7:00pm. Typically we have a one-round slam and 3 judges. For Finals we try to have 5 judges if possible.    The slam season will run for 1-2 years depending on whether or not we can send a team each year.

Self-Funded Slam— The intention of the slam and mood of the slam is to underplay [and often undermine] the competitive nature of the slam. That being said, forming a team to participate at the Nationals level is a serious consideration for both the organizers and potential team members.  Before going further with discussion of the Slam Finals, it is important to understand that the White Plains Public Library funds the slam series, but NOT the slam team.… It is entirely self-funded.  So, IF a poet makes the team, they will have to SELF-FUND the costs of training for competition and going to Nationals.  Each poet will have to come up with approximately $1,000 to $2,000 to participate in the team.   Please be assured that neither the library not the slam organizers make any money off this.… It costs everyone a GREAT deal of money and great deal of time.  The $1k to $2k budget is the range of what it costs for team registration, team coaching, team travel, and hotel and Nationals. Every team member is welcome to individually try to raise money for their own expenses and/or to try to coordinate team fundraising opportunities.  But this has never been successful in the past. So every potential team member should be prepared to have $1,000 to $2,000 to participate.

Qualifying for Finals [top 3 & participation * 3] — If a poet comes in top 3 at a monthly slam and is over 18 years of age*, they qualify for the next Finals IF they ALSO have PARTICIPATED in the slam series at least 3 times in the season.  “Participation” simply means that the poet has to SHOW UP at 3 events in a season. IT is the mission of our slam to make sure our Slam Team includes members of our regular poetry community. *The age 18 limit is set by the National Poetry Slam organization. Additionally, cities hosting Nationals can decide to make the event age 21+ (though we have never seen this happen). Also, Slam Finals is only for poets who QUALIFY for Finals AND will be able to make a $1,000 - $2,000 COMMITMENT to participate in the team. We UNDERPLAY the important of the competition in the monthly slam, but it is inefficient for the organizers and misleading for the judges and audience to have poets participating in the Finals if they are not SERIOUS about going to Nationals. 

Team Commitment — In addition to the GREAT amount of money to participate in the White Plains Library slam team, there is a great commitment of time…. For about 2-4 months, we try to rehearse in a White Plains team meeting once a week for 3-4 hours.  And any participating poet needs to COMMIT to getting the week off to go to the National Poetry Slam.

When and Where is The Next National Poetry Slam — The next National Poetry Slam is schedule for the week of August 13th - 18th, 2018, in Chicago, IL.

If the team gets deferred to 2019, it will be in Oakland, CA in August 2019

When are White Plains Library Team Finals? —
We are planning to hold Finals on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 in place of our regular Slam Event.

Format of Finals —
Slam Finals can be anywhere from 1 to 3 rounds depending on logistics and number of participants. We normally have 2 rounds in Slam Finals.  Format is normally determined a week or so before finals. Every poet should be PREPARED with 3 poems [all under 3 minutes, of course].

Team Makeup —
We normally try to have 5 poets on our team. (4 are required and 5 are allowed for a competitive edge) Understand, at the National Poetry slam, you will only be performing 1 or 2 poems in the actual competition—as determined by the Slammaster and team coach.  Freshman participants likely will only be performing 1 poem…. (There are side events and casual hang-outs, where you might get to perform other poems.)
We do understand this is a CRAZY amount of time, money and energy to commit, but it can also be a life changing experience.

What if I Make the Team? — First Meeting:   The First meeting will be to discuss all the glory details and to see if we have 4 to 5 COMMITTED TEAM Members to make a team.  If some of the top 5 poets of the finals say they no longer think they can commit to the time and expense, the opportunity will be passed on to the 6th, 7th, 8th etc. Slam Finals participants based on score. Second Meeting:  If you make the team, you will be expected to bring APPROXIMATELY $350 to the second team meeting. This will be NON - REFUNDABLE and be forfeited if you later decide to quit the team or do something to get kicked off the team. And all poets should understand that they are DEPENDENT on the other members of the team.… Airline companies etc. do NOT give refunds…. and, if the team drops to less than 4 people, they can’t compete at Nationals.  Please understand this risk [that will be further discussed at meetings 1 and 2].  This [approximately] $350 non-refundable deposit will be for the spit cost of $500 Team Registration [to the Non-Profit Poetry Slam Inc. that runs the Nationals] and an estimated $1,320 for Team Coaching by Bram Lewis [a legendary theatrical director and poetry coach, who has directed many Tony Award winners]. You can find info on Bram Lewis at www.bramlewis.com. We are committed to bringing the best team we can. Bram will be brought in for about 6 coaching sessions. So, dividing the total, each team member will be paying about $264 to get coached into being a better poet and performer (which accounts for 50% of scoring). If you don’t think your own poetry is worth that much of a financial cost, then we believe you are not committed enough to our team.   Weekly Team Meetings:  The team will coordinate a team session about every week… Every other team meeting will be with our Team Coach Bram Lewis.

If I make the team, will I be going to the National Poetry Slam next August? — If we form a committed team, then we will start rehearsals with Bram Lewis and commence with our weekly meetings.  We will enter the $500 National Team registration fee as soon as possible and HOPE we can get a slot.  This is not guaranteed, as sometimes more teams enter than slots allowed. If that happens we will determine [as a team] if we want to try to get the team a slot at the NEXT year’s National Poetry Slam.  If the team agrees to that then the forthcoming slams will be for building a team for the following year’s slam. It’s a huge committed and we want to make sure a team does not lose the opportunity they won to compete at the National Poetry Slam just because there are not enough open slots at the Nationals.  This is always a possibility, but we will push back future teams to accommodate this possible 1 year delay. If you have any questions about any of this, ask Zork at the Monthly Slam.