C.I.P.S. FAQ for Poets
How can I compete in the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (C.I.P.S.)?
Locate your nearest poetry slam venue (within Canada of course), and talk to their slammaster. Most slams will be holding a big playoff, or grand slam, to determine their venue representative.
You can also apply for a spot in the competition as a storm poet.
What’s a storm poet?
A storm poet is someone who isn’t an official venue rep, but wants to take part in the competition. Storm poet slots are open to the general public. There will be a limited number of slots, to be determined. Registration for storm poets begins at noon PST on March 1st, 2020 on a first-come, first-served basis.
How much does it cost to register? and how does the registration process work?
The registration fee for venue reps is $35. Venue registration opens on February 1, 2020 and ends on February 28th, 2020. For storm poets, the registration fee is $75. All registration fees must be paid online through our brown paper tickets link.
How many poets will compete?
The competition has been geared to have spots for 40 poets. All poets must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants.
Where can I find out about poetry slams near me?
Here’s a list of the poetry slams in Canada that we know about:
What if there’s no slam in my city? How can qualify to compete?
Apply as a storm poet.
The slam in my city can’t get their act together and have a qualifying slam, what do I do?
Apply as a storm poet.
Do I have to perform slam poetry to take part in Canadian Indies?
As we put it at the Vancouver Poetry Slam, a poetry slam is an event where all poetry is welcome. As long as the poem is in or under the allotted time for that round, you can use haiku, free verse, a sonnet, sestina, raps, rants, what-have-you.
Sweet. So I’ll bring my band, dress up in costume, and juggle chainsaws for half an hour, cool?
Not cool. All the regular poetry slam rules apply. That means no music, no props, no costumes, no nudity (boo this rule), no animal acts, just you and a microphone for the time allotted for that round. If you go long, 0.5 points are deducted for each 10 seconds you go past the time limit.
Also, no group pieces at Indies, obviously.
Who judges the poetry?
What makes poetry slams unique is that judges are randomly selected from the audience! One of the basic humanistic tenants of the slam is that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and that performance poets are accountable to their audiences. The Bout Manager then carefully screens selectees to ensure they were not ‘planted’ by one of the competitors
How much time do I have? What’s the format?
C.I.P.S. follows basically the same format as the Individual World Poetry Slam and Women of the World Poetry Slam.
That means that all registered competitors will participate in two preliminary bouts, each bout consisting of ten poets. The first night they will perform in a round of four-minute poems. The order for this four-minute round will be determined by random draw. The second half that first bout will be a round of one-minute poems. The order of this one-minute round will be in highest-to-lowest score from the last round.
The second preliminary bout will occur the next night. It will also be composed of ten poets each, shuffled around so that as few poets as possible face each other in both prelims. This night starts with a round of two minute poems (random order), and then a round of three minute poems (highest-to-lowest order).
The top ten poets from the preliminary bouts will advance to the finals stage. Ranking is determined by, firstly, the poet’s placement in each round, and then, if necessary, by scores. For example, a poet might place second in the one-minute round, third in the four-minute round, seventh in the two-minute round, and first in the three-minute round. This would give them a total rank of 13 (2+3+7+1). Lower ranks are better. If two poets are tied in rank, their relative strength ranking can be used as a tiebreaker.
On finals night, the poets will be performing three-minute poems. The first round will consist of twleve poets. The top seven highest-scoring poets will move on to the second round. Then, the top four highest-scoring poets from the second round move on to the third and final round. The highest scoring poet in the third round becomes the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam Champion. It’s a blank slate each round, not a cumulative score from all three rounds. The order in each round is determined by random draw.
Can poems be repeated?
The No Repeats Rule applies only to poems performed on CIPS Finals Night. Any poem performed at any previous CIPS Finals cannot be repeated in any part of a future CIPS (calibration poems do not count). Any poem that has been performed ONLY in previous CIPS prelim rounds may be used again in any part of the competition. All poems performed at CIPS Finals have been recorded and can be found on the Van Slam YouTube channel.
Can I get a subsidy even if I’m not an official representative of a Canadian Slam?
Subsidies are only for registered venue reps. If you are a venue rep, please have your slammaster contact Vancouver Poetry House email@example.com for the details.
What do I get if I win?
All poets who reach the final round on Finals Night (usually four poets) receive plaques. 4th places receives $100. 3rd place receives $150. 2nd place receives $250. 1st place receives $500. Every year that CIPS has occurred the champion has been invited to the World Cup of Poetry in Paris with travel and accommodation included; however, there is no formal deal in place between SpoCan and the World Cup of Poetry, nor has there ever been. We cannot guarantee that the champion will be invited to Paris, but we do expect it is likely.
Where do I stay when I come to Vancouver to compete?
Our sponsor hotel is Sandman City Centre. Mention “Verses Festival of Words” and / or a code to be announced to receive our group discount on hotel rates. Space is limited. The hotel is right downtown, two Skytrain stops from The Rio Theatre. To book: call 604-646-4320. Or feel free to make other arrangements through friends and family or through couchsurfing.org.
How does the “storm poets” system work? Do I get priority if I travel from outside the Vancouver area?
The storm poets system works based on a first come, first registered basis.