Rewriting the Rulebook – Section 3g-i

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

This is the latest edition of Rewriting the Rulebook!

We have a section that already WAS rewritten last year. We’ll get to that, but first… Sections 3g and 3h really have nothing to comment on. I include them only for completeness.

g) Scores for each performance will be given by five judges randomly selected before the bout begins. All scores are on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0, in increments of tenths. The poet’s highest and lowest scores are dropped and the three middle scores added together for a final score out of 30.0.

h) If a judge gives a score outside the range or in increments of hundredths or greater, the score will be rounded down to the nearest tenth or, in the case of a negative score, rounded up to zero.

Then we get to Section 3i.

This was changed last year when there was a question about whether dancing a poem counted as performing a poem. It was a team piece where the author of the poem danced while a teammate recited the poem. It was ruled to be legal at the time and afterwards we decided that the rule needed to be clearer. It was decided that people WANTED it to be legal, so we added the ‘in any way they see fit’ clause, to ensure that the word ‘perform’ stayed as broad as possible.

I’m still not sure I agree with that, but this reflects the desires of the community.

i) Competitors may perform (in any way they see fit) a solo piece when called to the stage, or they may choose a team piece. Any team piece performed in a certain poet’s slot must either be primarily written by the artist in question, or the team piece must be cooperatively written by artists in the piece, including the artist in question. The poet assigned to a certain slot must be an integral part of the performance.

I want to point out something. As clearly laid out in the rules, the poets whose ‘slot’ it is needs to be ‘an integral part’ of the performance. Somehow this has been altered in people’s minds to say that they have to have the biggest part in a team piece, or at least equal.

The rule never said that. It said they need to be ‘an integral’ part.

On finals night I heard a complaint that a certain team piece was in a poet’s spot and that she didn’t do her fair share on stage. She didn’t do ‘an equal part’. Well, as I point out here, that has never actually been the rule. Did she do ‘an integral part’ of the performance? Absolutely.

Back in 2010 we had a team piece on stage that DID break this rule. The poet who was called up said one word on stage (and did nothing else that could make up for that, like the dancing example above). This IS a violation.

Now, let’s talk about this rule and what it should be.

First off, I am actually not suggesting any further changes here, though I am open to it.

As said, I am not really in agreement with the idea that dancing counts as ‘performing’ a poem. Still, as said all along, I am trying to find a set of rules that serves the community, and the community wanted it to be legal, so it is.

As far as the rest of the rule goes, the ‘primary pen’ part is pretty much built on the honour system. That is the rule. Honour it. If you don’t, how can anyone prove it? (We had a case a few years ago where it sure LOOKED like a violation, but what we didn’t know is that the poet who had been touring, performing a poem, had CO-WRITTEN it with a teammate, but hadn’t told anyone. So when they put it up in HER spot, it was legal.

Honour system.

Then we get to the ‘integral’ part. Integral according to whom? That would have to be the slam/bout manager, and I guarantee that we would err on the side of the poets.

The question is, do you want to change that? And if so, how? The primary pen must say at least as many words as anyone else? They must be speaking for a longer time period than anyone else?

I for one don’t want a slam decided because we broke out the videotape (which often, doesn’t even exist) to calculate it.

I think the rule should stand as written.


  1. […] – Time Limits & Penalties Section 3f – Discussion – Costumes & Props Section 3g-i – Discussion – Primary Pen and Performing a […]

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