Southern Fried Regional Slam Rules*
Last Update: 2019
*Subject to Change
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. Regional Slam
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 Slammasters 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 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
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 Slammasters 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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. Host of Prelims and Finals
MCs must be impartial and careful to support every poets performance equally.
Keep the energy high. Each MC and BM should be a veteran of SF.
VIII. Slammaster’s Meetings
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 (3) 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 (SM2018).
D. In the event that SM business conducted between festivals requires a vote, the voting Slammasters 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. Southern Fried Poetry Inc. Board
At the SM2016 the Southern Fried Advisory Board (AB), now Southern Fried Poetry, Inc Board Members, 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.
A. Southern Fried Poetry, Inc was established as a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2016.
B. The Slammasters voted to implement our first Board of Directors. Effectively, the six advisory members were chosen as an initial board: Akin “Shadow” Sawyerr, Adam “Henzbo” Henze, Kirk Hardesty, Inkera Oshun, Ebony Payne, Dasan Ahanu, with a seventh member to be decided later. Members of the board have agreed to serve fora minimum two (2) years, agreeing that in the first year, no member will make money from per diems or contracted work from the organization. (SM2017)
In 2017, Sarita Goods was added.
In 2018, Inkera Oshun stepped down.
C. The SMs elected to make Southern Fried Poetry, Inc a membership based organization. Members wishing to participate in the tournament and other programming will be responsible for a personal 20-dollar-a-year membership fee, before they can compete in the tournament. Future membership perks will unlock special content on the website and other networks and make members eligible for other discounts. (SM2017)
D. SM2017 established a timeline for the election for new board members. In short, elections for new board members will be staggered over the period of three years, with two board seats needing to be elected each year at the slammasters slam.
E. SM2018 decided that out-of-region teams with in-region voting rights will lose those rights if they miss 2 consecutive Southern Fried Poetry tournaments. Those voting rights will be re-established once they attend 2 consecutive Southern Fried Poetry tournaments.
X. Tournament Director
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 Board.
XI. Infrastructure and Volunteer Outreach
A. Every team is responsible for filling just one volunteer slot at future tournaments (i.e. one bout in the entire tournament). The volunteer will be a competing team member/slammaster and will not necessarily include Hosting, Emceeing or Bout Managing. (SM2017)
B. 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 fifty-dollars ($50) has been paid to Southern Fried Poetry, Inc. (SM2018)
C. A website will be established giving access to pay membership dues and register for the tournament. Events, tournament rules, discussion forums, history, and volunteer outreach may also be provided. The website will be paid for by Southern Fried Poetry, Inc. (SM2005)
D. 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.
E. 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)
F. Only cities within the pre-approved regional boundary can host the Southern Fried Poetry Slam. However, if no in-region group puts forth a bid in a given year, then a city from outside the Southeast region can put in a bid to host Southern Fried. (SM2017).
G. The slammasters decided that in order to put in a bid to host Southern Fried, a slammaster must have attended two of the last three festivals. (SM2018) Click here to host a Southern Fried