At the National Poetry Slam, 70-80 nationally ranked teams converge bring thousands of participants, fans and volunteers to one city for a week of celebration, competition, and powerful voices. Each team will compete at least twice; scores are calculated across the tournament, and at the end of the third night Semi-Finals and Group Piece Finals are known. After four Semi-Finals bouts, the winner of each moves to Finals, from which the champions are chosen. The prize for winning is giant sword-through-a-stack-of-books trophy along with a cash award. And more importantly, bragging rights.


In 2015, Denver was selected through a competitive bid process to become one of the anchor cities of the National Poetry Slam, which means that Denver will host the event every five years. For the first time, the National Poetry Slam will come to Denver August 7 – 12, 2017. NPS is the largest performance poetry event in the world, and will be the largest poetry slam event that Colorado has ever seen.

Denver has one of the most thriving slam poetry scenes in the nation, and is home to many slam poetry champions, including Andrea Gibson, winner of the 2008 Women of the World Poetry Slam championship; Dominique Christina, 2012 and 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion; Amy Everhart, winner of the 2009 Individual World Poetry Slam championship; and Slam Nuba and Denver Mercury Slam, the National Poetry Slam championship teams for 2011 and 2006, respectively. Additionally, the Minor Disturbance Youth team won the 2012 and 2013 Brave New Voices Youth World Championships, and has made more consecutive finals than any team in poetry slam history.

With the 2017 festival coming to Denver, our goals are to further solidify Denver as a national hub of arts and culture, to promote a welcoming and celebratory space for spoken word performers from throughout North America, and to increase the ever-growing fan base of poetry slam by reaching new audiences. The membership of Poetry Slam, Inc. has nearly doubled in the last three years, and slam poetry events worldwide reach an online audience of millions. The poets at the National Poetry Slam have all competed to get there, and many are among the most well known performing poets in North America.