WPS Code of Honour

By entering myself as a competitor for this Winnipeg Poetry Slam event, I hereby agree to

  • Comply with local, provincial, and federal laws pertaining to individual civil rights and physical or sexual harassment.


  • Revel in a safe space in which diversity, freedom of speech, self-determination, and the pursuit of creative excellence are inalienable rights. As an inclusive community, all are welcome to participate in WPS events as performers, volunteers, organizers, judges, etc. Everyone is allowed to feel empowered to express themselves openly and be free from discrimination, intimidation, judgment, and physical or verbal harassment.


  • Participate in all WPS events in a way that encourages, illuminates and supports established standards of good sportsmanship; to refuse to allow the competitive challenge of the game to lead one to violence, interference, or direct threats; to allow all participants to pursue their craft peacefully and without censure, regardless of present team associations or past personal history. In the case of all points mentioned thus far, those who commit infractions on another individual’s safety, personal space, personal freedoms, etc. while on or off stage may be confronted and asked to leave the venue. If such infractions persist, they may be banned from attending WPS events.


  • Abide by competition rules as defined by the Winnipeg Poetry Slam, knowing that the consequences for breaking the rules exist and are upheld. Penalties will be determined by the severity of the infraction and the ruling of the director. These rules include: (1) Poems must be primarily composed of original material. (2) Though sampling is allowed, poems must contain a greater portion written by the poet/competitor. (3) Two poems are required to participate in the slam, as there are two rounds of competition. (4) No props or costumes are allowed. These include objects and articles of clothing that may be used to enhance, illustrate or augment the content of the poetry. Poets are allowed to utilize their surroundings and the accouterments they offer such as microphones, mic stand and the stage itself, as long as these accouterments are available to all other competitors. (5) No musical accompaniment, such as guitars, harmonicas, drums, etc. However, poets are allowed to create musical sounds with their own body (such as beatboxing, clapping, stomping, etc.). (6) A three-minute-and-ten-second (3:10) time limit is applied to each poet’s performance. (7) For every ten-second violation, a half point (.5) will be deducted from the poet’s total score. (i.e. 3:10 = no penalty, 3:11 = .5 deduction, 3:20 = 1.0 deduction, 3:30 = 1.5 deduction, and so on.) Where these rules also apply to playoff competition (x semifinal bouts + finals), there are “repeat rules” which also apply, in this case to the potential for poems to be used multiple times throughout the competitive season and playoffs. These rules are as follows: (1) Poems used in the regular season may be repeated in semifinals and finals, but not both (see directly below). (2) 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. (3) 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.


  • Be a fair poet–one who in competition is fair and generous, one who in any connection has recourse to nothing illegitimate; a poet who demonstrates grace in success and magnanimity in defeat. Any questions or concerns about this code of honour can be addressed in person to the organizers, including Artistic Director Larysa Musick, and Winnipeg Poetry Slam (WPS) board members/committee leaders, Mason Kanne and Joanne Schapansky.


Also, feel free to contact Larysa Musick, Joanne Schapanksy or Mason Kanne via email at winnipegpoetryslamboard@gmail.com or through the public Facebook group (search Winnipeg Poetry Slam).