Youth Slam Team

Learn More Below

One Mic Open is a grass roots slam and open mic series geared towards bridging the gap between adults and youth, by having both share their work in a safe space. The ultimate goal of the slam series is to put together a six person team to compete at an international festival called Brave New Voices, sponsored by YouthSpeaks.

One Mic Open was created to reach the youth of not only Cleveland, but surrounding suburbs, in an effort to create a sense of community among the youth in North East Ohio. By sharing their talents, not limited only to poetry, at the open mic, we feel that they are creating a space in which they are free to be themselves in the most complete sense.


Poetry Slam


*Current as of 2017*

"What is a slam?"

Think of poetry slam as the Olympic games of literary arts. The idea was to create something that invigorated the open mic scene, and competition is something that spurs people to do their absolute best. 

"When do the slams start?"

Slams for the National Youth Slam Team typically begin in the winter of every year, with finals happening in early spring. Look for dates/locations and times to be posted around October and November of the year. If you want to inquire directly, please visit our contact page and send us an email.

"What are the rules?"

The rules can vary a bit depending on the organization that is running the event. Below you will find the rules in accordance with One Mic Open events, this is specifically speaking to the YOUTH slams.

1. Slams for the Youth Slam Team are specifically for youth ages 13-19, who will not turn 20 before the summer of that year (typically cannot turn 20 before July of that year).

2. Youth will have 3 ORIGINAL poems prepared, written, performed, invented by THEMSELVES. The reading of other people's poetry is not allowed.

3. No props. A prop is considered anything that the other poets don't have access to. So consider that all you have is your voice and the mic.

4. The slam will be scored by 5 randomly selected judges, who have no close relationship with those participating in the slam. Judges will score each piece between 0-10, with no more than one decimal place (E.G 9.6). The high and low scores are dropped, and the middle three scores are added up, with the highest score being a 30

5. At the end of each round, through some prior agreed upon method, a number of low scoring poets will be dropped each round.

6. Your time starts with your FIRST WORD ON THE MIC. Each round poets will have 3 minutes, with a 30 second grace period. Significant point penalties will occur beginning at 3 minutes and 31 seconds, and will continue to incur every additional 10 seconds that pass. I.E: 3:31 -.5, 3:41 -1, 3:51, -1.5 etc.

"How do I get involved?"

We host open mics, year round and set aside three months for the youth slam events, to create the team. This year, we'll be hosting the youth slam events in Jan, Feb and March. In Jan/Feb we will host our Semi-Final events, which are open to ALL ELIGIBLE PARTICIPANTS. If it's your FIRST time being in a slam, or you HUNDREDTH, and you want to be apart of the youth slam team, you can participate!

For the Semi-Final events all the rules are the same, but you only need one poem! The top scoring youth (Typically anywhere from 12-16 total between both Semi Final events) will qualify for finals.

On final stage you need 3 poems prepared, and the top scoring 4-6 youth will create the youth slam team for that year.

Make sure to check out our Facebook or the Event Page for details about location/time

"What's the team for?"

The youth team that we create here in Cleveland will go forward to represent, not only our city, but our state at the International Youth Poetry Slam Festival called Brave New Voices . Brave New Voices is a festival run by Youth Speaks that has workshops, town hall meetings, various themed open mics, networking opportunities and a huge slam featuring over 50 teams from all over the world. The festival gathers for 5 days in the hosting city, for 2016 it'll be in San Francisco! We prepare our youth with single and group poems, as well as building a community with their teammates. It's hard work, but when youth come out the other end they have new respect and energy for their work.

"What does it cost?"

Nothing. *If you are 18-19, you will need to get a background check done, that is the only cost that would have to be handled by the youth/parent* Youth and Parents do not have to pay for registration, or the trip, or food. If parents/youth would like to bring additional funds with them, they are more than welcome!

More Questions?

If you have additional questions, please feel free to email using our contact page !