March TBD, 2018 @ 9PM

Get Ready to Get Nasty


Poets Compete Bracket-Style


Poems under 3-minutes to Play


Poet Wins


Dollars, January Prize

About Nasty Slam

Nasty Slam is a head-to-head poetry slam, judged by audience applause. Eight poets enter the competition (first come-first served)—and the winner takes half the door money. There are rules: We impose a 3-minute time limit, a requirement for original work, and a demand for your worst attitude. $10 to watch, $5 to play

How to Play

  • 8PM—doors open (venue is 21+)
  • 8:30PM—Sign-up list goes out, closes after 8 poets (any additional poets who sign up will compete for wildcard spot)
  • 9-9:30PM—show begins
  • Two poets names are drawn from hat, poets determine who goes first (using rock-paper-scissors). Both poets perform. Audience determines via applause who advances to the next round.
  • Rules: Bracket-style competition; 3-minute time limit, no grace; improvise or come prepared, but work must be original; no topic is off limits, but hate speech is not tolerated; no props, costumes, animal acts, or musical accompaniment; all performers are solo—no duets or group pieces.
  • As soon as a rule is violated (time-limit, props, etc.), the host will stop the poem in progress. Audience will vote on performance as was.
  • Four match-ups in round one. Cut to four poets for round two. Round three is only two poets.
  • Poets need 3-4 poems to win competition (4 in case of tie). Winner is usually allowed a victory poem as well. So five poems should be enough.
  • Winning poet takes half of door cash (~$100-$150 usually) and a Nasty Slam shirt (if size available).


Spirit Lounge

242 51st St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
1 (412) 586-4441

Visit Spirit

More Slam Poetry?

Nasty Slam is a poetry slam (sorta). We’ve taken the traditional rules and we’ve spun them on their head.

If you’re interested in a more traditional slam (with judges and numerical scores), check out Pittsburgh Poetry Collective. They are a Poetry Slam Inc.-certified venue and have programs for all ages.


Without our generous partners and sponsors, Nasty Slam would not be possible.

Contact Nasty Slam