In 2018, Sacramento placed third in the world at Brave New Voices.

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SAYS Slam Season 2019

Each year, hundreds of Sacramento area students compete in local poetry competitions, or slams; ultimately, a team of six students from SAYS compete at the International Brave New Voices competition. All area students ages 13–19 are encouraged to compete.


  • Participating artists must be in between the ages of 13-19

  • Each person must have at least 2 original poems prepared for the competition

  • All students must begin their entry by attending AT LEAST ONE PRELIMINARY bout in order to advance into semis & the finals. If you do not advance in one prelim, you can participate in as many prelims as you want to.

  • Each person has 3 minutes ( with a thirty second grace period) to read one piece. If the poet goes over time (3 min, 30sec), points will be deducted from the total score.

  • Participating artists may not use props or musical instruments

  • Poets receive scores from 5 judges, the high and the low are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving a total score of 0-30


  1. One Mic

  2. Loud N Proud

  3. Standard is Yourself

  4. No Wrong Answers/Questions 

  5. Don't Let Fear Conquer You

  6. Step Up... Step Back

  7. Patience, Respect & above all , Love.


  • Did you have a visceral reaction to the students piece?

  • Was it personal? Political? Powerful?

  • Did the student have a well-rounded stage presence?

  • Did they demonstrate the power of spoken word and hip hop literacy-using a minimum amount of words to have a maximum impact?


6 students who receive the highest scores will represent the Capital Region at the International Poetry Festival, Brave New Voices, in July. In preparation for BNV, the 2018 SAYS Slam Team will practice weekly with Poet-Mentor Educators, participate in community-based events, and feature in special showcases in the greater Sacramento area!