Monday, September 14, 2020

Christchurch Poetry Slam 2020 - Prelim Heat + Grand Final - RULES


 NOTE: In 2020, Christchurch is hosting a PRELIMINARY HEAT as well as a Grand Final. Only those selected via the Preliminary Heat (Wednesday 7th October, 7pm at Space Academy) will be able to contest the Grand Final as part of WORD Christchurch.


Here are the official rules of the Christchurch Poetry Slam as per the NZ Poetry Slam.
Sign-up is on the night only - places are limited to 12 participants so get there early.

Rules for NZ Poetry Slam

  • 3 minutes or less with no minimum time (10 second grace period before points deduction)

  • Time starts when poet speaks, however while poets can have time to settle and adjust microphone etc, this time is not limitless; ideally a poet should start before 10 seconds.

  • Original (i.e. your own) poems only

  • No props no music no costumes (i.e. clothing related to the content of your poem)

  • In the case of a tie a slam-off will be required

  • Random draw, for performance order.
Judging and scoring:

  • 5 Audience Judges (chosen by MC and/or organiser) display score cards 0-10 (Decimal points allowed)

  • Top and bottom scores drop off and total of remaining 3 scores is the total

  • If Poet goes over grace period MC or Timekeeper to ask scorer to mark down points after the judges score… (Half a point penalty for every 10 seconds over time)

  • After 4 minutes the MC can shut down the poet

  • 'Sacrificial Poet' (non-competing) to start the night, to help calibrate scores.

  • Slams are equally about writing, performance and audience response.

  • Slammers should have at least 3 poems, as there will be three rounds for the Regionals and NZ Slam
As always, remember: the point is the poetry not the points!



Thursday, August 06, 2020

Save Our Catalyst! A new date - 10th September

A fundraising performance of poetry and music to help keep our pages turning!

Christchurch poets are stepping up to help us fill the shortfall caused by the Covid-19 lockdown: we were unable to host our regular monthly open mics for four months and we rely on those to keep publishing Catalyst. So we're pulling out all the stops in a go-for-broke heave-to featuring some of Catalyst's regulars and Christchurch favourites and new friends.

We're celebrating National Poetry Day a day early, that's how keen we are. The show will feature a little bit of music, a whole lot of poetry, prizes and surprises so if you're in Christchurch on Thursday 10th September, swing on by the ever-lovin' Space Academy for a poetic digestif. $15 on the door or $10 pre-sale.

We are so so so grateful to all these beautiful, inspiring writers for donating their time, talent and even precious books to help us raise the $$. And a very special thank you to Melanie McKerchar for having this idea and bringing it to life. Mwah! Show them your love!

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

We Love Space Academy!

Please help us keep our beloved home alive and kicking.

Space Academy is a sanctuary for art, music and literature lovers (or just peeps who love craft beer, craft pizza and wholesome food).

It's also been the home of the spacey-themed latest iteration of Catalyst Open Mic, the ever-evolving poetry performance community now in its 19th year. You can even sit on the sofas and read a collection of our increasingly rare and collectible back issues from their library.

Run by the nicest team on Earth or in orbit, it is a haven for anyone looking for a gentler, thoughtful or inspiring experience in their night out.

You might even hear some poetry.*

Space Academy are running a Boosted campaign to help them get through the difficult winter caused by months of pandemic lock-down. Please support the lively, passionate arts and literary infrastructure in our city by donating to the campaign at the link below - every little bit helps and they are so close to target!

The view from the (open) microphone

Poet and sometime Catalyst host Melanie McKerchar

*this may or may not be an incentive.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

3rd Annual Stand Up Poetry SLAM - Live Stream Edition goes nationwide!

MEDIA RELEASE from Action Education:

Action Education is proud to present the 3rd Annual Stand Up Poetry Slam - Live Stream Addition!

As a way to meet the needs of our community and to ensure the safety of all involved, Action Education has decided to move our 2020 SUP Slam online and to the world.

SUP Slam is open to any poet within Aotearoa between the ages of 13-18. More than a competition, SUP Slam is a celebration of youth voice and a chance to hear from some of New Zealand’s most powerful young visionaries, leaders, and artists.

The slam will be live streamed at 6PM on Wednesday the 20th of May from the Action Education Facebook page.

The winner of the slam will receive a $200 Cash Prize and will be crowned the 2020 SUP Slam Champion!


Poets must be between the ages of 13-18.
Poem must be original.
Slam will be one round.
Poets will be scored by a panel of Guest Judges (TBA).
Poems must be between 2-3 minutes in length.
We will believe in free expression so the slam will be uncensored. Stand Up Poetry is an inclusive community, so hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated.


Send a video of you performing your poem along with your full name, age, and an email to the Action Education Facebook Page by MONDAY MAY 18TH @6PM. If you have any questions with regards to this process please feel free to message us or send an email to

The List of Competitors will be announced on Tuesday May 19th.
Poets can only enter one poem.

THERE IS LIMITED SPACE so please make sure to enter your poem before the due date.

For more info or for a more detailed description of the rules please send an email to -