2023 ToF CIPS Qualifier

^Thursday March 9 ToF x CIPS Qualifier

Here’s how it works:

Competing poets perform in a 3-round elimination poetry slam!Up to 8 poets will start in the first round, but only 4 will qualify for the final and deciding round!Poets will be eliminated following each round, with the final round winner declared the Tongues of Fire slam champion for 2023 and qualifying to represent ToF at CIPS from April 26-28!

Poets will need poems of different lengths for each round:

1st Round – 2-minute poems

2nd Round – 1-minute poems

3rd Round – 3-minute poems

All poems must be original works of the performing poet, and delivered without the use of props, costumes, recorded music or live instrumentation.


There are still 4 spots available for sign up!

We’ll have an open sign up with random draw to pick the final four competitors

Sign up between 6:30 and 6:55!

Draw at 6:58!

SHOW starts at 7!!

If you have questions about this event, poetry slam in general, or CIPS specifically, please contact Johnny MacRae at admin@victoriapoetryproject.com.For more information about CIPS, go to https://www.vancouverpoetryhouse.com/cips/. CIPS is part of the Verses Festival of Words.

*NOTE: Although the Tongues of Fire qualifying slam is an in-person event, CIPS is a hybrid event. The qualifying poet will have the choice of participating in CIPS remotely, or traveling to Vancouver to compete in-person. 


What is the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam

The Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (aka. CIPS) is a national poetry slam tournament that takes place from April 26 to 28, as part of the the Verses Festival of Words in Vancouver. Poets representing spoken word series and regions across what is colonially known as “Canada” will compete in a head-to-head tournament.


What is a poetry slam?

A poetry slam is a competition between poets in which five randomly selected people in the audience act as judges. The purpose of slam is to motivate poets to present work in a manner that is engaging for the audience.

Do I need to create “slam poetry” to compete?

No! Every style of poetry is welcome at a slam.

Are there rules in poetry slam?

Yes. The rules are simple: poets can only perform work of their original creation without the use of props, costumes, musical instruments or backing tracks. Oh – and there are time limits! 

What happens if a poet goes over time?

Poems that exceed the time limit receive a “time penalty” and are docked points depending on how longthe poem goes. No matter the time limit, there’s always a 10-second “grace period.” So, for example, in a 3-minute round of slam, time penalties are assessed beginning at 3:10:01. Every 10 seconds over the limit a poet is assessed a 0.5 point time penalty. So at 3:10:01 they lose 0.5 points, at 3:20:01 they lose 1.0 points, at 3:30:01 they lost 1.5 points, and so on.

Why does the CIPS qualifier have 2-minute, 1-minute and 3-minute rounds?

Poets competing in CIPS will compete in rounds of different length poems: 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-minute poems. We want to make sure that whoever Tongues of Fire sends to CIPS is prepared to put their best foot forward – not because we’re concerned if they do well in the competition, but because we want to support them in having a good time!

Do I have to travel to Vancouver to participate in CIPS?

No! CIPS is fully hybrid. Poets can perform online and have their poems broadcast to live audiences at the event. That said, we definitely recommend attending in-person if you can! Attending CIPS in person afford the rep opportunities to network with poets and organizers from across the country, take master classes with established professionals, participate in alternate events, and see some incredible showcase events.

If I travel to Vancouver, does Victoria Poetry Project pay for it?

No. VPP has paid for registration in CIPS. If the qualifying rep choses to travel, VPP will also provide them with a stipend to help make the trip more affordable, but they are otherwise responsible for making their own arrangements for travel and accommodations.

If I don’t win the qualifying spot, can I still participate in CIPS?
For sure – there are a number of venue reps in CIPS, but a lot of poet sign up independently to compete. They’re called “Storm Poets!” Just bear in mind that Storm Poet registration is currently open and ends on March 8th – the day before the Tongues of Fire CIPS qualifier. If you want to hedge your bets, you can register as a Storm Poet now and then withdraw if you win the CIPS qualifier. — If you aren’t able to compete in our ToF x CIPS Qualifier, you may register as a STORM POET (by March 8th 11:59 PM) — https://forms.gle/Cz2bev2wD7ZLHwht9