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 >$15 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:

  • Jamie Lee Lewis: 2016 Grand Slam Champion

    2016 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion Jaime Lee Lewis is an Educator and Inspirational Speaker from New York City. Being active on the New York Art Scene for many years, Jaime has built a solid reputation as a community organizer and innovator. Creator of the One Man Show “Unconditional” and the author of the self published book, BEING, his current mission is to help people live from a place of love. Through his written work he acknowledges, honors, and celebrates the healing power of words.


  • Roya Marsh

    Roya Marsh is the poet/author of the chapbooks Not All of Me Shall Die, Pieces Vol. I & II and 26. She  works as a teacher and youth mentor and has the bombest sneaker collection to date.
    Roya was a finalist in the 2013 Poetry Idol, 2013 Inspired Word Slam Master Jam Champion, 2014 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion and captain of the first all female slam team in the tristate area, representing Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Also a member of the 2016 Nuyorican Slam Team. She has competed in two Woman of the World Poetry Slams, placing in the top 20 poets in both events. She has been featured in the Village Voice, Huffington Post, Blavity, Button Poetry, Def Jam’s All Def Digital and at many venues and colleges around the country. Actually, just google her, she’s really freaking googleable.


  • Paragraph Lyn Robinson

    Paragraph Lyn Robinson is a poet /actor and teaching artist.  Paragraph was a member of the 2012 Hostos College Cupis slam team the fifth highest scoring team of that year. In 2013 Paragraph performed in the Edinburgh Fringe festival. The largest arts festival in the world. Paragraph is a member of the 2016 Nuyorican poetry slam team.


  • David Hong

    Hongy is a Korean American spoken word poet and an avid photographer. He currently works as a graphic/web designer to support his lifestyle. He was a member of the 2011 Hawaiislam (Honolulu, HI), 2015 Battleborn Grand Champion (Las Vegas, NV), 2016 Jersey City Grand Champion (Jersey City, NJ), and the 3rd Asian/1st Korean to represent the Nuyorican Poets Cafe at the 2016 National Poetry Slam.

Nuyo Team in Action

“Mother’s Prayer”- Jamie Lewis & Roya Marsh


“Sesame Street” by Paragraph and Guangpyo Hong


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.