Rockford Certified Open Mic and Poetry Slam

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The Rockford Certified Open Mic and Poetry Slam is a monthly event designed to provide local artists with a chance to share their work in a supportive environment.


This event is generally held on the third Tuesday of every month, from 6PM to 8PM.


The Nordlof Center, 118 N. Main Street, Rockford, IL.


Anyone may attend this event. However, parents of young children are cautioned that the event is not censored, and that foul language may occur. Thus, it may not be suitable for children under the age of thirteen.

This event is divided into two sections: an open mic section followed by a traditional poetry slam. Participants need not sign up to perform in advance.
Note: performers may be filmed during the event, so please notify the host if you do not want a recording of your performance placed online.


- Performers will be given at least five minutes to perform, although more time may be allowed depending on the number of performers present on any particular night.

- You do not need to perform poetry. Musicians, dancers, comedians, magicians, storytellers, and other performers are all welcome to perform during this section.


- A poetry slam is a competition. All works in this section will be judged by three randomly selected judges from the audience.

- Any poem performed in the poetry slam section must be the poet's own original work.

- The time limit for slam poems is three minutes. Time starts when the poet begins addressing the audience or interacting with the audience in any way. (Asking for help adjusting the microphone is an exception). After three minutes have passed, plus a grace period of ten seconds, a deduction of half a point for each additional ten seconds will be applied to the poet's score.

- No costumes, props, or musical instruments may be included in the performance.

- This poetry slam contains two rounds, so poets must prepare two poems, although any poet eliminated after the first round will not be allowed to perform a second poem.

- In the event of a tie for first place, poets will be asked if they have any additional poems available to perform. If so, they will participate in a third round as normal. If not, they will be asked to improvise a poem about a suitable topic.

- The top three poets will receive a small prize from the dollar store. Traditionally a picture of the winners is posted on the slam Facebook page.

The Rockford Certified Slam is an officially certified member of Poetry Slam, Inc. and is eligible to send representatives to various national poetry competitions, including the Women of the World Poetry Slam, a women-only individual event held in March; the National Poetry Slam, a team event held in August; and the Individual World Poetry Slam, an individual event held in October. If you have any interest in representing Rockford at the national level, please contact the slammaster for details on qualifying.

More information can be found about PSI events at

Rockford has a long history with slam poetry. In 2005, the city sent a team to the National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A long lull followed until 2011, when former slammaster Rhiannon Stanuch began hosting poetry slams in the Bookworm Bakery and Cafe on East State Street, inside the east branch of the Rockford Public Library. Following the closing of the Bookworm, the slam took place at Rockford University in the Lion's Den for some time, before settling into its current home at the Nordlof Center in downtown Rockford.

Nationally recognized slam poet Carrie Rudzinski hails from Rockford and has performed at the Rockford Certified Slam in the past.

Please contact slammaster Angela Hiss with any questions at
or on Facebook at

For video recordings of this event, check out Dylan Garcia's Rockford Poetry channel on Youtube