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.


SpecFest Poetry Slam 2023

The Arts Unit’s Poetry Slam is a new competition for NSW government school students in Years 7 to 11. Young poets are invited to submit a video of their original work, with the 8 best performances chosen to compete at a live state final. The theme for this inaugural year of the slam is: ‘Fabulous.’ All submissions need to use that word somewhere within the performance, but students can interpret this word in any way they choose.

The first round of the competition will be held via video submission. Finalists will then be invited to perform at SpecFest in November, where a state champion will be announced.

How does the competition run?

Applications for SpecFest Poetry Slam 2023 are now open. To apply, teachers should complete the SpecFest Poetry Slam entry form by Thursday 31 August (Term 3 Week 7). You will then be sent instructions on how to upload your performance to our secure site. The video submissions are due Friday 22 September (Term 3 Week 10).

Schools can submit videos for a maximum of 2 students per Year group, so a maximum of 10 submissions per school. The entry fee for each video submission is $15.00. This amount will be debited from your school's account after a video has been received.

Results will be available on this website Term 4 Week 1. All entrants will be sent recorded feedback on their submissions. Successful students will be invited to an online meeting to discuss their work in preparation for live performances, and finalists will also be offered the opportunity to have a tutor visit their school to help prepare them for their performance at SpecFest on Friday 24 November. The 2023 winner will be announced at the conclusion of the event at SpecFest. Prize partner ACCO Brands Australia proudly supports the Poetry Slam.

What are the steps to entering?

  • Complete your SpecFest Poetry Slam entry form – we'll reply with instructions.
  • Prepare your video submission.
  • Upload your video to our secure hightail platform.
  • Note that the fee for each student entry is $15.00.

What are the rules for the 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 5 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) with live audio from the room taken into the camera.
  • A video taken with a smartphone or tablet using the sound from the internal microphone of that device is sufficient.
  • Quality of video and audio recording will not be considered as part of the judging criteria.

What are the judging criteria?

  • Interpretation and development of the chosen thematic concept: ‘Fabulous.’
  • Technical proficiency
  • Structural coherence
  • Clarity of delivery and performance skills

The 8 performers chosen to proceed to the in-person final at SpecFest will be judged on the same criteria as above, in addition to their ability to engage a live audience in the outdoor arena of SpecFest.


Justine Clarke
Speaking Competitions Officer
The Arts Unit
02 8512 1172

The Poetry Slam is proudly supported by ACCO Brands Australia.