Poetry Slam

Years 7 to 11

The Arts Unit’s Poetry Slam is a competition for individual students in Years 7 to 11 attending government secondary schools.

2023 Slam Poetry Champion

Applications for SpecFest Poetry Slam 2024 are now open!

The Arts Unit’s Poetry Slam is a competition for individual students in Years 7 to 11 attending government secondary schools.

All work must be original and include the following stimulus in a significant manner within the poem.

All 4 One

  • All performers must be students currently enrolled at a NSW public school in Years 7 to 11.
  • Round 1 will be held via video submission. 
  • Finalists will then be invited to attend either an in-person or online live regional final before 6 finalists are chosen to perform at SpecFest in November where a state champion will be announced.

2024 dates

To apply, complete the SpecFest Poetry Slam – entry form 2024 by Friday 30 August 2024 (Term 3 Week 6).

You will then be sent instructions on how to upload your poem to our secure site.

Poetry Slam video submissions are due Friday 27 September. (Term 3 Week 10).

  • Results will be available on The Arts Unit website at the end of Week 1 Term 4.
  • All entrants will receive written feedback on their submissions.
  • Successful students will be invited to an online meeting to discuss their work in preparation for the live regional finals. 

The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the state final event at SpecFest on Friday 29 November.


Justine Clarke
Speaking Competitions Officer
The Arts Unit
02 8512 1172

How to apply

  • Complete the SpecFest Poetry Slam – entry form 2024 as soon as possible.
  • Prepare video submission.
  • Upload video by Friday 27 September. (Instructions will be sent after the submission is received.)
  • Have each student complete and return a SpecFest Poetry Slam Authority to Film and Record form.

Round 1 – Video submission

Round 1 is judged on video submission.

  • Slam poets are required to submit a recorded version of their original poem.
  • The performance should be at least 3 minutes in length but not exceed 4 minutes.
  • The poem should be delivered by an individual student.
  • The video should be filmed as one continuous live take from a single static camera with no camera movement (including zoom, pan or tilt) and live audio from the room taken into the camera.
  • A video taken with a smartphone or tablet using the sound from the device's internal microphone is sufficient.
  • The quality of video and audio recordings will not be considered part of the judging criteria.

Judging criteria

In Round 1, submissions will be judged on:

  • Interpretation and development of the chosen stimulus
  • Technical proficiency
  • Structural coherence
  • Clarity of delivery and performance skills.

12 regional finalists will be chosen to deliver a live performance either in person or online.

6 state finalists will then proceed to the in-person final at SpecFest, where they will be judged on the same criteria as above, in addition to their ability to engage an audience in the Poetry Slam space at SpecFest.

Entry form

Applications open Friday 5 July 2024.
Applications close Friday 30 August 2024.
Video submissions due Friday 27 September. (Term 3 Week 10).

This competition is open to NSW government school students in Years 7 to 11. Teachers submit this entry form to participate, then send through students' details when uploading their videos. (instructions will be sent). Note that schools will be allowed to enter a maximum of 2 students per Year group, so a maximum of 10 students overall.

Entry fees

The fee to enter this competition is $15.00 per student. This fee will only be charged when you upload the videos, after which it will be debited from your school's account (please let the relevant person in your school's office know).

School entry details

If your school does not appear in the above list, please contact us at 02 8512 1171 and we will be happy to assist with your entry.

Principal permission

By submitting this form, I acknowledge I have permission from the school principal, and that my school will be charged the appropriate entry fee for this submission. The Arts Unit Privacy Policy

The 2024 Poetry Slam is proudly supported by ACCO Brands Australia.

All Arts Units programs are inclusive. If support is required to participate in Poetry Slam, please email Justine.clarke@det.nsw.edu.au so we can assist.