Southern Fried Poetry Slam Rules
southeastern regional poetry slam
The slam is a four day festival including readings, workshops, side slams and
the Regional slam for teams and independent poets. This guide was adapted at the
2004 Southern Fried Slam Masters (SM2004) meeting. Amendments made at subsequent SM
meetings are included and noted.
I. The Regional slam is conducted in three preliminary rounds and a final round.
A. Teams consist of four or five poets representing a poetry venue. Registration for
teams with voting rights and for Individual poets opens on March 1. For all other
teams, registration opens on April 1 (SM2015).
1. Team members must qualify by winning a poetry slam competition open to the public.
A venue's SlamMaster determines the specific format of that venue's poetry slam
competition for team membership.(SM2006 - competition rule & and 5 poets rule)
2. At the SM2004 'southeastern teams' was defined to include those teams from the
region whose border includes the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Virginia.
At SM2012 Texas was added to the region of 'southeastern teams'.
3. All competing poets and voting Slam Masters must be members of Southern Fried Poetry,
Inc. (SM 2017).
B. The number of teams is to be determined by the Host, but must be divisible by
the number 3 or 4 to accommodate the bout structure.
C. Once the number of teams has been determined, independent poets may be added. Two
poets may be added to each bout. For example, if there were 16 teams, there would be 4
bouts of 4 teams per round so that 8 independent poets could be added to the festival.
D. Bout Draw. A random drawing is used to determine which teams and independent poets
compete in each bout.
E. In the event that one or two teams are needed in order to even out the bouts,
up to two ‘pickup’ teams may be randomly chosen from among team alternates and
F. Orientation. Before the tournament begins, an orientation will be held which will
include the Code of Honor & Sportsmanship, Southern Fried culture, and the
tournament structure. Attendance of this orientation is mandatory for all Slam
Masters and competing poets. Anyone who does not attend may be removed from
the tournament (SM2015).
II. Preliminary rounds are divided into bouts of three or four teams.
A. Before each bout a representative from each team meets with the bout manager
to draw team order. The letters A, B, C (& D in the case of four team bouts) are
written on folded paper and drawn by the representatives. Independent poets also
draw for order using numbers 1 & 2..
B. This is the order of team performances:
1. Four team rotation:
1st rotation A. B. C. D.
2nd rotation B. C. D. A.
1st Independent Poet
3rd rotation C. D. A. B.
2nd Independent Poet
4th rotation D. A. B. C.
2. Three team rotation:
1st rotation A. B. C.
2nd rotation B. C. A.
1st Independent Poet
3rd rotation C. A. B.
2nd Independent Poet
4th rotation A. B. C.
C. Each team is represented by one of its 5 poets each rotation in the round.
A poet on a team may be represented only once in each bout. A team may choose to
perform a team piece if the poet represented is the (or one of the) primary
author(s) of that poem. That poet would lose his/her individual ranking for the
duration of that festival.
D. The scores of all poets on each team are added together to get each team's cumulative
score. The team with the highest cumulative score is the winner of the bout and gets a
ranking of 1. The second place team gets a ranking of 2, etc. In the case of a tie, both teams
get the rank and the next lowest rank is dropped. For example, if two teams tied for 1st place,
there would be 2 teams ranked 1, and ranking of 3(and 4) for the remaining team(s).
E. Each poet's score is also ranked and each poet is given a rank for the round.
Ties are handled the same way as with teams.
F. At the conclusion of the third preliminary round, team and individual poet
rankings are added and compared. The four teams with the lowest cumulative
rankings are advanced to the final round. Likewise the four poets with the
lowest cumulative rankings are advanced to the final round.
G. Any protests of rules violations should be brought immediately to the bout
manager's attention for resolution or to be referred to the protest committee.
The person(s) protesting must know and be able to state the violated rule.
H. At the conclusion of each bout, a representative of each team will sign the
official score sheet to signify agreement with the posted scores. After all the
teams have signed the score sheet the bout manager will sign it to make it
official. Scores must be given to a representative of the scoring committee
as soon as possible.
I. Mulligan Rule (the do over): In the event that some occurrence during a bout
causes that bout to come to a stop before the end of a rotation, and if
continuing the rotation would cause some teams to perform under very different
conditions than others within that rotation (such as but not limited to: the
loss of two or more judges so that some teams in that rotation would be judged
by a substantially different group of judges), then the majority of Slam Masters
and/or team captains competing in that bout may decide to start that rotation
over by a majority vote if two or more of the SM/captains call for a vote, or if
one SM/captain and the MC/BM team call for a vote. The MC/BM team is the tie
breaker in the event of a tie. ***Poems performed during the nullified portion
of the affected rotation may be repeated as if they had not been performed at
that SF. There may be no more than one Mulligan per bout.*** (SM2010)
J. Sacrificial Poem (calibration poem): Before each bout begins, a sacrifice poem
will be performed by a poet not in the competition in order to give the judges
an example of a slam poem which the judges may use to compare with the
poems which will follow in the round.
Also, in the event that a judge must be replaced, or the Mulligan rule is used,
the MC and BM will restart the bout with another sacrificial poem (SM2015).
The BM may present the sacrifice performance if no other qualified poet is available.
III. The Final Indie Round includes the top 12 ranked Individual poets. The Final Team Round
includes the top 4 ranked teams.
A. Indie Finals is held before Team Finals.
B. Order of performance for the first round is a random draw. Order of performance in the
second and third rounds is based on the cumulative scores of the poets, from high score to low
C. After the first round, the highest 8 scoring poets progress to the second round. After the
second round the top 4 scoring poets advance to the final round. Scores are cumulative.
D. The highest cumulative scoring poets wins.
E. The Team Final Round is held Saturday night.
F. Order of performance is by random draw.
G. After a Sacrifice poem, four rotations of team competition are run.
H. Rotation order is the same as in preliminary 4 team bouts.
I. The highest cumulatively scoring team wins.
J. Announce Spirit of Southern Fried Award.
K. Announce team results from last to first.
The prizes will include a case of RC Cola and a case of Moon Pies each for the
team and individual champions.
Prize money is to be determined by the host city.
IV. A Protest Committee of three persons will be named before the competition to resolve
protests. The members of the protest committee should be introduced at the team
introductions before competition begins.
A. All poems performed in competition must be the original work of the
B. There are no props, music or costumes allowed during poetry performances.
Poets may use whatever is on stage and available to all poets while performing
(for example, getting on top of a chair is not using a prop as long as all
performers have access to it).
C. During the preliminary rounds, no poems may be performed more than once. A
poem may be performed in Finals even if it was used in a preliminary round.
D. Poems have a 3-minute time limit with a 10 second grace period. After 3:10 a
poet's score is penalized .5 point for every 10 seconds over the time limit. For
instance, at 3:20 the poet loses 1 point, at 3:30 1.5 points, at 3:40 2 points,
etc. During Final Rounds, the grace period will be 20 seconds.
A. Judges must be impartial and not related to any competitors in the festival.
B. A diverse range of judges is preferred.
C. A person who is employed by the venue and currently on the clock may not
D. Poems are judged from 0.0 to 10.0, with a single decimal point encouraged as
E. Five judges are chosen per bout. For every poem scored, the high and low
scores are dropped and the remaining three added together for that poem's score.
F. Before the bout begins judges meet with the MC and are warned about score
creep, asked to be consistent and given an opportunity to use a sacrifice poem
to practice scoring and to use as a base score.
G. Before the beginning of any bout, a representative from each team will be
introduced to the judges and given an opportunity for each team to veto one
H. Judges are chosen by the Bout Manager and/or MC.
VII. MCs must be impartial and careful to support every poet's performance equally. Keep the
energy high. Each MC and BM should be a veteran of SF.
VIII. A SlamMasters meeting is held the morning after round one to resolve any difficulties,
decide on any rules changes and decide where the next Southern Fried will be hosted.
A. A host city is chosen two years in advance (SM2005).
B. A Host City must be within boundaries of the southeastern region as defined by
these rules, unless no such city offers a bid to host (SM2017).
C. Voting SlamMasters are those SlamMasters with Voting Rights at SlamMaster
meetings, and who are able to register their slam teams during early registration
beginning March 1st.
1.Voting SlamMasters include all SMs from in region poetry slams, and those SMs
from poetry slams outside the region who have attended three consecutive years.
On the third year, that team's SM may vote (SM2005).
2. If a SlamMaster with Voting Rights fails to attend two consecutive Southern
Fried Festivals, then that SlamMaster will have their Voting Rights suspended
until they will have attended two consecutive Southern Fried Festivals
D. In the event that SM business conducted between festivals requires a vote,
the voting Slam Masters will be those who attended the most recent SM meeting,
and such attendance will be proven by the sign-in sheet from that most recent
IX. Infrastructure and Outreach
A. Each team must contribute one volunteer to perform one bout duty during at
least one bout during the contemporary tournament (SM 2017). In the event
that a team does not designate a mandatory volunteer, or the designated mandatory
volunteer is a no call/no show, the team will not be permitted to register for
future Southern Fried events until a fine of $50 has been paid to Southern Fried
Poetry, Inc. (SM2018)
B. The Lake Eden Art Festival's Poetry Slam is a sister slam, named the Southern
Fried LEAF Poetry Slam for individual poets (SM 2012). SF LEAF is a one day event
held in the Fall and Spring during LEAF. There is a qualifying round and a final
round. The top twelve qualifying poets compete in the final round. The winner of
each SF LEAF will be given an Individual slot at the next Southern Fried.
C. The team which places last at SF will be awarded the Spirit of Southern Fried
on the Finals stage before Team Finals begins (SM 2012).
2018 Bout Schedule
2018 Team Scores
2018 Indie Scores