Callout for Slammers – Quiet Slam, January 2017

We’ve had two Quiet Slams (our first one looked like this), and we’re doing a third one!

We’ll put up a proper event entry next month, but here are some details in case you want to actively participate.

We’re looking for ten performers. Entry is open to anyone, so long as you can be in Edinburgh on the evening of Sunday 29 January 2017. The location is the Outhouse on Broughton Street; start time is 7pm but we’ll ask slammers to be there no later than 645pm. Unfortunately, because we run on a shoestring budget, we cannot offer free entry for slammers, but you’re welcome to pay the concession fee of £3 and we will give all performers a free raffle ticket.

What’s a quiet slam?

A quiet slam is a poetry slam where loudness is not necessarily a virtue. (Have you been to a not-quiet slam? It is usually very loud. We don’t mind loudness, but we’d like to offer something different.) Participants won’t be marked down for speaking softly, reading from paper, or being nervous. We also like to encourage new slammers to take part – if you want to cut your teeth, now’s your chance! Finally, judges will score participants on the quality of their poem and the quality of their performance, not for the volume of the audience response. Some poems just don’t lend themselves to whooping, you know?

What’s the format?

Each of our ten poets will perform twice. We’ll have a first round, in which each poet will read for 2 minutes, and be scored by our judges. After a break there’ll be a second round, and each poet will read again – this time for 2.5 minutes. This means each poet gets two chances to wow our judging panel (as opposed to other slams where you might get knocked out immediately). The top three highest scoring poets from rounds one and two will go into a final, where they’ll get chance to read for three whole minutes. Our winner will have the chance to read one final poem! Interspersed among all this poetry we’ll have our usual lovely music, and our raffle, so you’ll get chance to win the infamous lemon cake.

I want to be a Quiet Slammer! How do I make my dream a reality?

To put your name in the hat, email us at shorepoetsedinburgh{at} (turn the {at} into a proper @) and ask to be put on the list – include your full name and your phone number. (This is the only way to sign up. Please don’t leave a comment on this post or email us at any other address. This is also the address to use for asking any questions.) Deadline is noon on Sunday 15 January. If you miss the deadline, you can still ask to be put on the reserve list.

Later that day or very soon after, we’ll pull names out of the virtual hat and get in touch with people. If you don’t confirm within a few days, we’ll ask someone else. (If you’re going to be out of town or unavailable, let us know and we’ll cut you a bit of slack.) If your name is not pulled out of the hat, you will automatically be placed on the reserve list. We usually have a few dropouts before the slam, so being on the reserve list does provide a good chance of being rewarded.

Will there be prizes?

Yes, almost certainly National Book Tokens. Also, the winner of the slam will be eligible for the Scottish Slam Championships – because of timing, this might mean the 2018 championships, but we’ll definitely put your name in.

How do I prepare to be a slammer?

You’ll need to choose three poems that you can read/perform in the given time limits (2 minutes, 2.5 minutes, 3 minutes). If you go over time, you’ll have to stop, so it’s important to practice your work and make sure that you can stick to the limits. Any kind of introductory statement about your poem counts towards your allotted time. Rehearsing in front of friends, your cat, or your mirror is a good idea. You may also want to attend other slams to see how they work.

You should also bring a fourth poem, which you can read if you’re the winner of the slam.

Finally, if you’re interested in a much different type of slam, Graeme Hawley is putting together a research slam at the NLS. (He’s also doing a more traditional slam for Burns Night but I can’t find a blogpost about that – email him if you want more information.)

We hope to hear from you – remember, the email address for signing up is shorepoetsedinburgh{at}, by noon on Sunday 15 January. If you don’t want to perform, stay tuned for full event information coming sometime in January!

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Tracey S. Rosenberg

I write. I do other things, of course, but here is where I discuss writing (mostly).

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