Guelph Spoken Word Presents

OIPS 2016

September 10, 2016

River Run Centre

Guelph, Ontario

 

Ontario International Poetry Slam Rules

[Updated 29 August 2016]


Performance of Poems

The Basics

  1. Competing poets may be of any age, from any country.

  2. Poems can be on any subject, in any language, and in any style.

  3. No special consideration nor hindrance will be offered to poems performed in a language other than English.

  4. Each poet must perform work for which they are the primary creator.

  5. The poet is not allowed to bring any props on stage, including costumes (nudity is not considered a costume provided any relevant clothing is removed before the poet takes the stage). A prop is defined as any being or object introduced into a performance to enhance or augment the words of the poem. Any poet using a prop will receive a score deduction of 2 points for that poem. Guelph Spoken Word has final say over what constitutes the use of a prop.

  6. No musical instruments or pre-recorded music shall be played during the poetry performance.

  7. Poets must wear the exact same clothing (or lack thereof) when performing all of their poems in a specific bout, but may change clothing between the preliminary and final bout as desired. Normal reading glasses are excluded from this guideline.

  8. Poets are not required to start, remain, nor end on stage for their poem.

  9. Poets may read their poems if desired.

  10. Sampling the works of others, whether from poems, songs, plays, movies, books, or other media, is acceptable. Such sampling should not be more than approximately 20% of the performed poem.

  11. Poems cannot be repeated on any OIPS performance stage in a single competition year. Each poem performed must also be at least 50% different than each of the poet’s other poems performed at OIPS that same year. Additionally, once a poem has been performed on the final stage of any previous OIPS, it cannot be repeated on any future OIPS performance stage.

  12. No person other than the competing poet can assist or participate in any poem in any round.

  13. Poets are expected to be present in the hall for their scheduled performance time. A poet has one minute to reach the stage once their name has been called to perform. Absence beyond one minute will result in rescheduling the poet’s performance for later in the bout (as soon as the poet is present and available) and in a deduction of 2 points for that poem.

Time Limit

The maximum time for performing a poem is 3 minutes, with a 10 second grace period (20 second grace during the final bout). There is no minimum time. The timer starts when the poet first engages the audience. First engagement is usually when the poet starts speaking, but may also occur at any other time as determined by Guelph Spoken Word’s sole discretion. Should a poem exceed 3:10:01 (3:20:01 during final bout), the poet shall receive a final poem score penalty equal to -0.5 points for every 10 seconds (or part thereof) over 3:10 (or 3:20 during final bout).

Judges will not be alerted to time faults before they have submitted their scores for that poem. Any time penalties will be announced by Guelph Spoken Word when the poem score is tabulated and revealed to the audience.

Guelph Spoken Word will stop any poet who exceeds four minutes of performance, resulting in a score of zero for that poem.

Fairness and Audience Influence

Poets are expected to behave fairly at all times before, during, and after their performances with respect to interaction with audiences and judges. Poets shall not try to unduly influence scoring by judges other than during the actual performances of their poems. All standard rules of poetry slam decorum shall be observed. Poets who violate this rule may receive one warning from Guelph Spoken Word. Further violation will result in the poet’s disqualification from OIPS in Guelph Spoken Word’s sole and absolute discretion.

Judging and Scoring

Selection of Judges

All efforts shall be made to select 7 judges from the audience for each bout who will judge all poets fairly and without bias. All judges shall be instructed by Guelph Spoken Word regarding their responsibilities and expectations. 4 judges will be “public judges” (scores for each poem are revealed publicly) and 3 judges will be “private judges” (scores for each poem will be submitted to Guelph Spoken Word privately – i.e. not revealed to the audience).

Selection Dispute

Should a poet wish to dispute the selection of a judge, it must be done BEFORE the bout beings by bringing the complaint to Guelph Spoken Word. Guelph Spoken Word shall rule on the dispute after hearing the poet’s arguments, and will have final say in the appropriateness of the judge selection.

Scoring Basics

Each public and private judge will assign each poem a score from 0.0 (lowest score) to 10.0 (highest score), and are encouraged to use one decimal place in their score. Scores from the 4 public judges will be displayed and announced publicly at each poem’s conclusion, while scores from the 3 private judges will be submitted in written format promptly after the judged performance to Guelph Spoken Word. The private scores shall not be revealed to poets or audience until the conclusion of the bout. Each poem consequently receives 7 scores. The two highest and two lowest scores will be eliminated and the remaining 3 middle scores will be added together to give each poem a score out of 30.

Sacrificial Poets

To help the judges calibrate their scores, at least one sacrificial poet will perform at the beginning of the first round of the preliminary bouts, and at the beginning of the first round of the final bout. Judges will score the sacrificial poets as normal, but the scores are discarded because the sacrificial poets are not competing during that bout. Selection of the sacrificial poets is up to the sole and absolute discretion of Guelph Spoken Word.

Advancing During Preliminary Bouts

During each preliminary bout, all poets will perform their first poems. Only the 8 poets that received the highest scores out of 30 (after any and all penalties are applied) shall advance to the second round to perform their second poems.

Only the 3 poets that received the highest cumulative two-round scores out of 60 (after any and all penalties are applied) shall advance to the final bout.

Advancing During Final Bouts

During the final bout, all poets will perform their first poem, which will receive a score out of 30. Only the 6 poets that received the highest scores out of 30 (after any and all penalties are applied) shall advance to the second round. Then only the 4 poets that received the highest cumulative scores out of 60 for their first two poems will advance to the third round.

At the beginning of the third round of the final bout, the scores for each of the 4 finalist poets are discarded and reset to zero. The poets’ scores out of 30 during the third round will determine final placing (1st through 4th).

Tied Scores in Preliminary/Final Bouts (First Round)

Tied scores may need to be broken after the first round of each preliminary/final bout to ensure that only the designated number of poets advance to the second round. To break the ties when necessary, the poets’ scores are re-examined by discarding only the one highest and one lowest score, resulting in a score for each tied poem out of 50 instead of 30. The poet with the highest score (closest to 50) shall be the winner of the tie breaker.

Should a tie result again, the poets’ scores are re-examined without discarding any scores, resulting in a score for each tied poem out of 70 instead of 50. The poet with the highest score (closest to 70) shall be the winner of the tie breaker.

Should a tie result again, a coin-toss or other appropriate randomiser shall be used to break the tie.

Tied Scores in Preliminary/Final Bouts (Second Round)

In the second rounds of the preliminary bouts, ties must be broken so that only the designated number of poets advance to the final bout. Similarly, in the second round of the final bout, ties must be broken so that only the designated number of poets advance to the third round.

To break the ties when necessary, the poets’ two scores are re-examined by discarding only the one highest and one lowest score for each poem, resulting in a cumulative score for each poet out of 100 instead of 60. The poet with the highest score (closest to 100) shall be the winner of the tie breaker.

Should a tie result again, the poets’ two scores are re-examined without discarding any scores, resulting in a cumulative score for each poet out of 140 instead of 100. The poet with the highest score (closest to 140) shall be the winner of the tie breaker.

Should a tie result again, a coin-toss or other appropriate randomiser shall be used to break the tie.

Tied Scores in Final Bouts (Third Round)

Tied scores may need to be broken after the third and last round of the final bout to rank each poet. To break the ties when necessary, all of the tied poets’ cumulative scores for all three poems performed in the final bout are re-examined without discarding any scores, resulting in a cumulative score for each tied poet out of 210 instead of the normal 90. The poet with the highest score (closest to 210) shall be the winner of the tie breaker.

Should a tie result again, a coin-toss or other appropriate randomiser shall be used to break the tie.

Ties That Don’t Need to be Broken

Should scores during the third round of the final bout result in a tie, all tied poets may elect to instead share a tied rank (and associated prize money for the two tied ranks) instead of moving to break the tie as outlined above. All tied poets must agree to this sharing, and agreement must be reached before all scores from all three rounds from the public and private judges are revealed. Should all tied poets not come to an agreement, the ties will be broken as outlined above.

Advancing Tied Poets

At the sole and absolute discretion of Guelph Poetry Slam, a tied poet who lost the tie breaker after the second round of a preliminary bout may be advanced to the final bout regardless, which would result in 4 or more poets from a single preliminary bout advancing to the final bout. Similarly, a tied poet who lost the tie breaker after the second round of the final bout may be advanced to the third round regardless, which would result in 5 or more poets advancing to the third round. Guelph Poetry Slam reserves the right to advance any such poets at any time before the beginning of the final bout.

Order of Poets

Preliminary Bouts

No later than one week before OIPS is schedule to be held, Guelph Spoken Word shall randomly assign each competing poet to one of the preliminary bouts and randomly determine the order that the poets will perform during round one of the corresponding preliminary bouts. These random assignments shall be made publicly available.

The poets that advance to the second round of each preliminary bout shall perform in the second round in descending order of their first-round scores (highest score performs 1st, second-highest score performs 2nd, etc.). Should a tie result amongst two or more of the advancing poets, tied poets shall perform in the second round in descending order of their first-round performance order.

Final Bout

Before the final bout begins, Guelph Spoken Word shall randomly determine the order each finalist poet will perform their poem in the first round. The poets that advance to the second round of the final bout shall perform in the second round in descending order of their first-round scores (highest score performs 1st, second-highest score performs 2nd, etc.). Should a tie result amongst two or more of the advancing poets, tied poets shall perform in the second round in descending order of their first-round performance order.

Before the third round of the final bout begins, Guelph Spoken Word shall randomly determine the order each finalist poet will perform their poem in the third round.

Dispute Process

Should any competing poet wish to dispute any aspect of any occurrence at OIPS, the poet must bring the dispute to the attention of Guelph Spoken Word. After hearing the poet’s arguments, Guelph Spoken Word will render its final decision on the dispute and has sole and absolute discretion regarding the outcome of the ruling.

Recording at OIPS

Each competing poet understands and agrees that Guelph Spoken Word may record the audio and/or video of any performance and at any other time during the event. Guelph Spoken Word may distribute the recordings for free or for cost without further expressed permission from each poet. Each poet waives all financial interests and rights to these specific Guelph Spoken Word recordings in perpetuity.

Changes to Rules

These rules are meant to be guidelines to help in the running of the Ontario International Poetry Slam. Guelph Spoken Word reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to modify, add, or delete any rules and guidelines, at any time, as it deems necessary to the efficient and effective hosting of OIPS.