THE JUDGES' GUIDELINES: We use the word "poem" to
include text and performance taken together. Some judges
like to attribute separate numerical values to various
elements of a poem (e.g., the importance of the topic,
imagery, metaphors, articulation, gestures, and other less
tangible elements). Others prefer to take a more holistic
approach. Whatever approach you choose, please, give each
poem only one score on a scale from 0.0 (= the worst
possible poem) to 10.0 (= the perfect poem). Use only one
Penalties for overtime might come up, but the timekeeper and
scorekeeper will determine this after you submit your
The audience may try to influence you; they may applaud you
or boo you. That's their prerogative. Please remember that
in a quiet poem, the audience has no way to communicate what
Be fair and consistent! As long as the better poem gets the
better score, you're doing your job well. If you give the
first poem a seven and the other judges give it a nine, that
doesn't mean you should give the second poem a nine unless
it's a lot better than the first poem.
Although the high and low scores will be thrown out, don't
ever make a joke out of your score thinking that it doesn't
really matter. A poem about geometry does not automatically
deserve PI as a score. Nor does one about failing a
breathalyzer test deserve a 0.08.
Scores sometimes rise as the night progresses. That's called
"Score Creep." Remember that poets performed in the
randomized order. So, the first poem you hear may be the
best poem of the night. In order to minimize score creep,
you may want to keep record of scores you give. As long as
you stay consistent, you're doing your job well.
The host will come by to answer any questions.