Guest Post: Inkera Oshun | 12 Things You May Not Know About The National Poetry Slam

The National Poetry Slam (NPS) is a performance poetry competition where teams from across the United States and Canada participate in 5 days of competition. The event occurs in early August and takes place in a different U.S. city each year. The National Poetry Slam is Poetry Slam, Inc.’s signature event. It is currently the largest adult team performance poetry competition in the United States.

Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams.

Here are 12 things you may not know about the National Poetry Slam:

  1. The first National Poetry Slam was held in San Francisco in 1990. There were ONLY 3 teams represented. They were from Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. Chicago (Green Mill) won that year.
  1. Did you know that Nuyorican Poet’s Café has been on final stage 14 times? This is the most that any one team has been represented.
  1. Prior to SlamCharlotte’s win in 2007, there had not been a winner from the South East in 14 years. Asheville, NC won in 1995.
  1. In the history of NPS, there have only been 5 cities that have won back to back. They are Chicago (Green Mill 1990-1991), Boston (1992-1993), Charlotte (SlamCharlotte 2007-2008), St. Paul (Soapboxing 2009-2010), and New Orleans (Slam New Orleans 2012-2013)
  1. In the history of NPS, there have only been four instances where the host city won the championship in their hometown. They are Chicago (1990), Boston (1992), Albuquerque (2005), and St. Paul (2010).
  1. In 26 years, NPS has been held in 15 states. They are California (4), Massachusetts (3), Texas (3), Illinois (3), North Carolina (2), Minnesota (2), Florida (1), Wisconsin (1), New Mexico (1), Michigan (1), Washington (1), Rhode Island (1), Connecticut (1), Oregon (1), and Missouri (1).
  1. Did you know that in the hitory of NPS, no venue has won more than twice?
  1. Did you know that NPS has had as many as 78 competing teams and as few as 3?
  1. In the history of NPS, only two cities have hosted the event back to back. They are Austin, Texas (2006-2007) and Oakland, CA (2014-2015).
  1. Did you know that up until 2007, NPS had an indie competition as well as a team competition?
  1. Did you know that starting in 2016, NPS will be grounded in 4 cities? The “anchor” cities are Oakland, Atlanta, Denver, and Chicago.
  1. Did you know that The National Poetry Slam has been the subject of several feature-length documentaries, including the 1998 Paul Devlin film SlamNation, and the 2006 Kyle Fuller and Mike Henry film Slam Planet?

**The National Poetry Slam Wikipedia page was used in this blog post as a reference for these 12 little known facts.

If you would like additional information regarding Poetry Slam, Inc, National Poetry Slam, or any of the other events we sponsor, our web address is

Inkera Oshun is currently the President of Poetry Slam, Inc and the Artistic Director of SlamCharlotte. She can be reached at