Rules and Regulations

Southern Fried Poetry Regional Slam Rules

Last Update: 2015

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 opens on March 1. For all other teams and for Individual poets, 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'.

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 independent poets.

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.

B. This is the order of team performances:

1. Four team rotation:

Sacrifice Poet
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. Each team's poet's scores are added together to get each team's cumulative score. The team with the highest score is the winner of the round 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.

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.

K. 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 Friday night after the conclusion of the last preliminary round.

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 score.

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.

L. The prizes will include a case of RC Cola and a case of Moon Pies each for the team and individual champions.

M. 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.

V. Poetry

A. All poems performed in competition must be the original work of the performing poet.

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.

VI. Judging

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 judge.

D. Poems are judged from 0.0 to 10.0, with a single decimal point encouraged as a tiebreaker.

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 judge.

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. At SM2005 it was decided to choose each host city two years in advance.

B. At SM2005 it was decided that voting SlamMasters include all SMs from southeastern slams and those SMs from slams outside the region who have attended three consecutive years. On the third year, that team's SM may vote.

C. 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 SM meeting.

IX. At the SM2005 the Southern Fried Advisory Board (AB) was created for the purpose of assisting and directing the Festival's transition between host cities with an eye toward maintaining SF Festival spirit and traditions. The Board was created with three members, the current year SF host city SlamMaster, the previous year SF host city SlamMaster and the next year SF host city SlamMaster.

A. At SM2007 the Tournament Director was made the fourth member and chair of the Advisory Board. At SM2009 the Assistant TD was added to the Advisory Board.

B. The TD will consult with the AB when issues come up and must be presented to the SM body. The AB will determine how issues are to be presented (SM2015).

X. At the SM2007 the post Tournament Director (TD) was created, the TD made chair of the Advisory Board and given the responsibility of oversight of the South Eastern Regional Poetry Slam portion of the Southern Fried Poetry Festival.

A. The Tournament Director (TD) is elected for a two year term by majority vote
of the Southern Fried SlamMasters (SMs) at the annual SMs meeting.

B. The TD will provide for the bout draw in cooperation with each host city.

C. The TD has veto authority over selection of Bout Managers and MCs and will provide for the training and instruction of BMs and MCs before the first bout.

D. The TD is responsible for ensuring scoring accuracy and timely posting of scores and rankings.

E. The TD is responsible for approving the host hotel and the venue for the Final Round of the Poetry Slam.

F. The TD is directed to ensure that the host city's Festival Director has all information necessary to host the Festival and Poetry Slam and to create a schedule of benchmarks to provide each host city plenty of time and support in completing all of the various steps toward preparing for and hosting the Festival and Poetry Slam.

G. At SM2009 it was decided to retain the current TD until cause for change (this changed the SM2007 decision to hold an election for TD every odd numbered year).

H. At SM2009 it was decided create an Assistant Tournament Director position with elections to be held at the same time as TD elections. The Assistant TD is also a member of the Southern Fried Advisory Board.

XI. Infrastructure and Outreach

A. A website will be established giving access to history, tournament rules, forums, and volunteer outreach. The website will be paid for a year in advance. The current host city is responsible for covering the domain and website hosting expenses for the following year(SM 2010).

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 right before the winners of that year are announced (SM 2012).

XII. Waiting List Rule passed at SM2016

Registration for team and individual slots will be taken on a 'first come first served' basis. Once all slots have been filled for teams and/or individuals, the Host City will create a waiting list also based on a 'first come first served' basis. If a slot becomes available, that slot will be filled by the team or individual at the top of the respective list.

The Host City will notify the team or individual that the slot is available. Once a team or individual has been notified that a slot is available, that team or individual will have seven days to accept the slot. After those seven days, if the slot has not been accepted by the notified team or individual, the slot will be offered to the next team or individual on the respective list. This continues until the slot is filled.