Youth Slam Team

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

The 2018-19 Slam Season will commence with two semi-final qualifies (open to eligible youth) on Dec 7th 2018 and Jan 4th 2019. Finals will be held Feb 3rd 2019.

*Current as of 1.15.2019*

"What is a slam?"

Think of poetry slam as the Olympic games for 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 take place in the Fall/Winter. Look for dates/locations and times to be posted around August/September of any given year, on the late side. If you want to inquire directly, please visit our contact page and send us an email. Also, checking out our facebook page here, will always keep you up to date.

"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 Team qualifying slams.

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

2. Youth will have 3 ORIGINAL poems prepared, written, performed by the author. The reading of other people's poetry is not allowed and will result in disqualification and a one year ban on competing.

3. No props. A prop is considered anything that the other poets don't have access to.  All you have access to 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 and 30 with a 10 second grace period. A time penalty of .5 will be incurred every additional 10 seconds that pass, starting at 3:40:01
I.E: 3:40.01 -.5, 3:50.01 -1, 4:00.01, -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, our first Semi Final event will be Dec 7th 2018, the second Semi Final event will be Jan 4th 2019, and Finals will happening February 3rd, 2019.


For the Semi-Final events all the rules are the same, but you only need one poem! The top 12 scoring youth (6 from each semi-final event) will qualify for Final Stage!

On Final Stage, you need 3 original poems prepared.

The top scoring 5 youth will create the youth slam team for that year.

"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 provides 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 3-4 days in the host city, which will be Las Vegas, this year. 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. Youth and Parents do not have to pay for registration, the trip, or food. If parents/youth would like to bring additional funds with them, they are more than welcome!

**Only cost incurred is that of a background check for youth 18+, BCI only, digital finger printing $40-60 depending on location**

More Questions?

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