Slam poetry in public libraries amplifies young voices

State Library of Queensland and Queensland Poetry Festival have partnered to amplify the voices of young people via SlammED!, a Slam poetry workshop program engaging 9 – 16 year olds, in schools and public libraries across Queensland.

What is Slam Poetry?

Slam poetry combines performance, writing, competition, and audience participation. It is performed at events called poetry slams. A microphone, live audience and two minutes to impress five judges chosen at random from the audience are the key ingredients.

Why Slam Poetry?

Poetry, especially Slam poetry, is a great creative medium for young people.  It encourages the use of words as powerful tools to tell stories, and empowers young people to share truths and insights that reflect themselves and their communities.

The performance component of Slam poetry cultivates confidence to stand up in front of adults and peers and make their stories heard. It allows expression that breaks the rules taught in traditional forms of writing.

SlammED! 2018

In 2018, SlammED! has gone regional, working with schools and public libraries across the state. It’s has already visited Hughenden, Charters Towers, Tully, The Tropical Writers Festival and Cairns. Next it’s off to Goondiwindi State High, Charters Towers Excelsior Library and CityLibraries Thuringowa Central to be run in conjunction with the Townsville Cultural Festival.

Why get involved?

  • empowers young people in finding and sharing their voice
  • promotes literacy n an immediate and accessible form
  • encourages participants to freely express themselves in writing and performance
  • provides literacy development and learning opportunities for young people
  • provides schools and teachers with a useful tool to engage students
  • engages Queensland spoken word artists directly in paid educational slam-related work, helping to build spoken word’s profile and industry
  • supports activities that connect schools, young people and teachers with public libraries.
SlammEd participant performing at the Queensland Poetry Festival

SlammEd participant performing at the Queensland Poetry Festival

Writing resources

Want to help young people in your community find their voice?  Here are some resources for youth writing.

Literary magazine: Voice Works

Online young writers network: Write the World

Writing toolkits: Express Media

Writing competitions (not all open to Queenslanders): Melinda Tognini blog

If you’re interested in hosting future SlammEd! activities at your public library register your interest at