Southern Fried is an annual performing arts festival celebrating poetry, spoken word, and community outreach.

The name alone evokes a sense of family, home cooked meals and good ol’ Southern food, and Southern Fried Poetry shares the absolute best southern offerings -- hospitality, comfort and tradition.

During the first week of June every year, a host city in the Southeastern region of the United States is excited to host the tournament which showcases some of the world’s most extraordinary artists whose talents will be on display as they compete for cash and prizes.

Since its inception in 1993, the Southern Fried Poetry Festival has become one of the largest poetry events in the world.

Our mission is three-pronged:

  • Serve the community through educational, theatrical, and literary programs
  • Nurture, support and showcase regional, national and international poets, writers as well as actors, musicians, and other artists
  • Honor the creative genius of the south as a spiritual home for artists
What is a Poetry Slam?

If you have never seen a poetry slam before, prepare to be amazed. Poetry Slam is high energy, high intensity, relevant and virtuoso performances by some of this nation’s greatest young talent and minds.


Poetry slam is more than an art form—it’s an experience.


The Southern Fried Poetry Slam began in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1993, as both an outgrowth of the evolving national poetry slam scene and as an organic element of the southern oral culture and history.


Over the years, as more and more large-scale poetry slams have appeared throughout the nation and beyond, Southern Fried has stood the test of time, acquiring a reputation as one of the most welcoming experiences for the newbie, while remaining the largest adult regional poetry slam in the nation.


The Annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam tournament is a four-day long festival, comprising competition, workshops, side bouts and the camaraderie of poets from all over the southeast and beyond.


Each poet will have three minutes to perform one poem of his or her own construction. No props, costumes or musical accompaniment are allowed. Each poem is scored by a panel of five judges who have been chosen randomly from the audience. We drop the high and low scores. Each poet's individual score is then added to the cumulative total for the team that poet represents. Each year, over 200 poetry slammers compete for cash prizes and a year’s worth of bragging rights.


Southern Fried Poetry Slam competing poets represent all races, colors, creeds, gender identities and regions of the United States.


The entire festival takes place in a southeastern US city and will include, in addition to the central competition, daily themed open mics, a poetry picnic, community service, Sunday brunch, youth poetry slam and much more.


"When you're here, you're family. Now act like it, dammit!" - Southern Fried Poetry