White Ribbon Spoken Word 2020

White Ribbon are holding their second spoken word competition via zoom on Thursday September 17th and it’s going to be a night of hot poetry, sizzling truths and fiery performances.

The theme of the night is ‘Respectful Relationships’ so get ready for some amazing rhymes and inspired takes on ending (men’s) violence in New Zealand.

Last year’s White Ribbon campaign focused on #Unspoken Rules – clichés about masculinity that men and boys inherit from society. By turning these rules around into positive statements, we encouraged people to challenge them.
This year it is Challenge the #Outdated. This will pivot the focus from the unspoken to the outdated and focus on the advice men have been given when growing up that we can now see as unhealthy. The campaign will continue to take a conversational tone and use the common expressions that men would have heard growing up. These unhealthy attitudes will literally be overwritten with positive alternatives – creating new, modern alternatives to outdated ideas of masculinity.
Contestants can speak to any of these concepts.

Judges and prizes will be announced soon.


Poems must be the original work of the performer/s. Plagiarised material will result in disqualification.
Performers must be students at a NZ secondary school (or equivalent) and 15 years or older
Poets can perform by themselves or with a team.
No accompaniment by sound, props, or costume is allowed.
Each poem should be between 1-4 minutes (max of 5 minutes).

Contestants will be marked down for going over time.
No musical accompaniment. No props. No costumes. Personal poem transcripts permitted.
Judges mark score cards using a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the highest.
Scores will be based on: performance, writing ability and uniqueness.
All performances must be inspired by the theme of ‘Respectful Relationships’
All entrants must supply their script.
White Ribbon reserves the right to take photos and videos of the performers at the event and utilise the video/photos/script to promote Respectful Relationships.


You will need to provide your email address, school, name and stage name if applicable, and upload or send us the text of your poem. You may also upload a video of you performing the poem if you wish. You’ll also need to provide a photo for the programme and a brief bio for our MC so our MC can introduce you. Entry form.

Entries due by Monday 14th September 5pm.

On the Night:

Information about the evening will be sent to all performers. There will be an opportunity for a brief technical sound check prior to the event beginning.

Public can join the zoom webinar here https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87000694254?pwd=RFZOQVpqSmNPL2ZQalkxTmNWSGFFUT09
Passcode: 809348

Finalists will get the chance to perform their piece on Thursday 17th September to an online audience via zoom. The judges include the CE for Woman’s Refuge Dr Ang Jury, Award-Winning Comedian and Playwright James Nokise and Jordan Hamel who took out the 2018 New Zealand Poetry Slam championship and competed at the World Poetry Slam Championships in San Diego.


First prize is $500, with $200 for the runner up and $100 for third place. Your work may also be selected to feature in the November Nationwide White Ribbon Campaign.


Download the poster as a PDF as a jpg

Facebook events page is here

History of Slam Poetry

One of the most vital and energetic movements in poetry during the 1990s, slam has revitalized interest in poetry in performance. Poetry began as part of an oral tradition, and the Beat and Negritude poets were devoted to the spoken and performed aspects of their poems. This interest was reborn through the rise of poetry slams across America; while many poets in academia found fault with the movement, slam was well received among young poets and poets of diverse backgrounds as a democratizing force. This generation of spoken word poetry is often highly politicized, drawing upon racial, economic, and gender injustices as well as current events for subject manner.

A slam itself is simply a poetry competition in which poets perform original work alone or in teams before an audience, which serves as judge. The work is judged as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style, and many slam poems are not intended to be read silently from the page. The structure of the traditional slam was started by construction worker and poet Marc Smith in 1986 at a reading series in a Chicago jazz club. The competition quickly spread across the country, finding a notable home in New York City at the Nuyorican Poets Café.

taken from https://poets.org/text/brief-guide-slam-poetry

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