Poetry Slam

The first poetry slam ever in New York City was held at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in 1989, now 20 years later, we’ve become part of the cultural history of this city, still going strong. Today’s Nuyorican Poetry Slam is the result of our tradition of talented hosts, amazing performers and heart-stopping performances. Each one has helped to develop the legendary Poetry Slam reputation that is associated with the Cafe. If you want to learn who these people have been, the years they participated, their contact info & lots more, please see Verbs on Asphalt, the authorized multimedia website that documents the whole story of Slam at the Nuyorican from the beginning.

Slammin’@ The Nuyorican:

Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican is truly poetry of and by the people. Winners of any Nuyorican Poetry Slam are chosen entirely by our varied audience members, a continual stream of changing faces, ages and backgrounds that make up New York City on any given night. Audience judges are not required to have any special skills or history and that’s what always makes our slam so exciting and unpredictable.

Many Poetry Slammers have begun their careers in either the Wednesday Night Slam Open or the Open Room. Some will come back and compete many times before winning a slam, so keep on coming! 2008 National Team member, Rico Steal, began his career at the Nuyorican in the Open Room and didn’t quit until he was slamming on Friday Nights!

Winner of Wednesday Night Slam Open is eligible to compete in a Friday Night Slam. If you win a Friday Night Slam, you are eligible to compete in one of the five Semi-Final Poetry Slams that happen throughout our Slam season.

If you win a Semi-Final slam, you will become one of five poets to compete in our yearly Grand Slam Finale, which generally happens in April. The winner of that slam takes the Grand Slam Champion title for that year and immediately qualifies to be on our National Team. The rest of our yearly National Team comes out of three Run-Off Slams, which happen after the Grand Slam Finale. We send these team members to compete yearly in the National Poetry Slam. To learn more about our National Teams through the years, click here.

Spotlight Poets are featured before the Slam each Friday Night and are curated by the Nuyorican SlamMaster.

The Nuyo Friday Night Poetry Slam

Every Friday Night @10pm: $13 admission
The Nuyorican Friday Night Poetry Slam is pretty popular and fills up fast, so please get in line early. (Suggested arrival at latest, 9:15pm). Hosted by many different poets!

Semi-Final Slams >$15 Admission (5 times a year, see schedule)
Grand Slam Finale >$20 Admission (yearly event, usually April, see schedule)

If you are interested in becoming a Friday Night Slam Spotlight, please send samples of your work both written & recorded (MP3 or provide video links, etc.) to slamspot@nuyorican.org

The Nuyo Celebrates this Year’s Slam Team:

  • Radi: 2018 Grand Slam Champion

    Born and raised in Northern New Jersey, RADI has been writing poetry since she was in the 3rd grade. During her adolescence, she made it her business to write every single day frequently taking topic request from her peers. Upon graduating high school and studying BioChemistry at Montclair State University, RADI was brought to the Speaking Through Silence Poetry club who introduced her to the art of slam poetry in 2010. Years later, after sharpening and strengthening her craft, she would pledge the only Performance Arts based fraternity in the state in NJ; The Establishment R.E.M. Fraternity LLC in 2013. That same year, RADI won her very first grand slam earning her spot on the 2013 MSU National Slam Team as the team captain before she attended her very first national poetry competition, College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). That year, she and her teammate’s poem was voted as the best group piece performance at CUPSI 2013. A year later RADI caught the interest of a NJ Legend in slam poetry, FlowMentalz, who initiated her to the New Jeru Slam team. With New Jeru, RADI attended the Southern Fried Poetry Slam (the 2nd Largest National Poetry Slam) for years straight (2014-2017), making final stage (Top 4 teams) three out of four times! In 2017, RADI doubled down and earned here spot on TWO National teams; New Jeru Slam Team & Jersey City Slam Team. Her new home team (Jersey City) brought her all the way to the National Poetry Slam (NPS, the largest poetry slam competition in America), where they made history for their team by winning 1st place in a national bout! RADI then went on to win her way to Women Of the World Poetry Slam, in 2018 under her Jersey City Slam Team moniker. Her first time at a national competition as an Individual Artist, RADI won 3rd place making her the 3rd best female slam poet in the world, where she is currently ranked today! After returning home from WOWPS2018, she has gained more honorable titles such as; Jersey City Slam Finalist, New Jeru Slam team 2018 Grand Slam Champ & Slam Champion of the prestigious Nuyorican Slam Team!!!!

  • “It’s more than Slam poetry, it’s more than poetry period. I wanna write everything; scripts, books, screenplays, short stories, manuscripts, any and everything! I have a lot to say, that most people won’t say, but it still needs to be heard anyway.” – RADI

Monthly Events

Wednesday Night Slam & Open Mic

Every Wednesday Night except the first Wednesday of the month.
Doors Open @9pm: $8 admission
The first 20 poets to sign up will slam & the winner of this night is eligible to perform in the Friday Night Poetry Slam. Get there early & sign the book.
Hosted by Jive Poetic

The Open Room

Every Friday Night after the Poetry Slam: approx. @12:30am
The Open Room is a Nuyorican poetic institution that happens right after the Friday Night Poetry Slam. Anyone can read one poem at the mic and every kind of poet and poetry is welcome. There are no judges and no numbers. Hosted by Atrayn.