Poets who are competing in the slams from January to May must follow these rules:
- Poets must sign up to compete before the competition at the venue.
- Poets must bring two poems that are 3-minutes or less in length to compete.
- Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction. Sampling is allowed as long as the poem is 80% original.
- Each poet gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score.
- No props, costumes or musical instruments are allowed. Poets may use what is available to other competitors: the mic and their own voice. Beat-boxing, stomping, and singing are allowed.
- No nudity.
- Poets must abide by the WPS Slam Code of Honour
Poets who make it to the semifinal and final rounds of the season must follow these rules:
- Poems used in the regular season may be repeated in semifinals and finals, but not both (see directly below).
- Poems used in semifinals may not be repeated at finals in the same year/season. They may be used again in future seasons, as well as in future semifinal and final bouts.
- Poems used at finals may not be used again in future finals bouts (referred to as “burning a poem”). They may be used again in future regular seasons and semifinal bouts.