Sparky Slam Poetry Competition

“I thought the format and size was perfect. The crowd was just the right size…it wasn’t so big that we were nervous, but it wasn’t small either. Everyone got a chance to vibe off each other.”

— Godelive Sadiki, 2017 Sparky Slam winner

sparky slam

Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018

ASU's Sparky Slam is a valley-wide spoken word poetry contest featuring original work by students in grades 5-12. Its purpose, though, extends beyond just the thrills and rewards of competition.

The Sparky Slam welcomes young people onto an ASU campus, celebrates youth voices, and gives young artists writing support from ASU faculty and students. In 2018 a writing workshop will take place immediately before the competition.


ASU's West campus
Herberger Young Scholars Academy
Black Box Theatre

Schedule for Feb. 3, 2018

4:45 p.m.Check-in / Youth performers and ASU writing mentors arrive
5 p.m.Writing Workshop and pizza (youth performers and ASU writing mentors)
5:40 p.m.Mic check
5:50 p.m.Doors open to the public
6 p.m.Sparky Slam begins

REGISTER for the 2018 Sparky Slam


Wendy Williams, assistant professor of English education, ASU College of Integrative Sciences and Arts (
Sabrina Switzer-Wareing, director of theatre and special events coordinator, ASU Herberger Young Scholars' Academy (

Sparky Slam rules

  1. Original poems will be three-and-a-half minutes or less.  
  2. The content and language of the poem must be appropriate for all ages. Performers should keep in mind that a wide range of ages will be in the audience.
  3. The contest will feature at least 20 youth performers.  
  4. Additional interested poets will be placed on a waitlist.  
  5. All performers are expected to arrive by 4:45 p.m. and attend the writing workshop. At this workshop, youth performers will be paired with ASU writing mentors, who will provide feedback and encouragement. 
  6. Space in the writing workshop is currently limited to youth performers and ASU writing mentors. However, waitlisted poets may be invited to the writing workshop if space becomes available. An announcement about this will be emailed closer to the event date.
  7. All correspondence about the event will be sent to the email address listed on the poet's registration form. Poets should check this account for updates.
  8. If a youth performer has not arrived by 5:15 p.m., event organizers reserve the right to remove the person from the performance line-up and add a waitlisted poet in his/her place.  
  9. Prior to the event, the poet performance order will be randomly determined.
  10. Poets are expected to treat each other, the judges, and the space with respect.
  11. Sparky Slam organizers reserve the right to ask a poet to stop performing.
  12. Contest results are final. 
  13. Seating is limited.
  14. ASU, organizers, and sponsors do not endorse particular viewpoints expressed at the Sparky Slam.