Deadline nears for virtual poetry slam at City Hall

The Klute aka Bernard Schober is slam master for Maricopa Grand Slam.

Entries are now open to all Pinal County slam poets for the November Maricopa Grand Slam.

The event, a project of Maricopa Arts Council, has been designed specifically for pandemic times as both a real and virtual experience. Competing poets perform live from the socially distanced Maricopa City Hall, but the audience and judges will be virtual.

The event is set for Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. The Early Bird Draw is Oct. 9.

A message from The Klute

Three money prizes are at stake along with the area crown. Competition is expected to be fierce. Only 12 poets can compete, but the entry hat is already open for Pinal County poets.

Poets will be selected in a three-stage drawing led by MAC slam master The Klute, well-known performance poet and ocean activist Bernard Schober.

City of Maricopa and all Pinal County poets have favored status with a guaranteed eight out of 12 slots reserved for them. Two slots are guaranteed for City of Maricopa poets, and six to Pinal County at large. The remaining four slots will be open to poets Valley-wide (including Pinal County).

The Early Bird Draw for the eight Pinal County Poets will be Oct. 9. The hat then opens to all Valley residents that day, with the full draw the following week, Oct. 15.

To enter, send an email to with your name and city of residence, and the subject line THE HAT. Pinal County poets should enter by Oct. 8 to be part of the Oct. 9 early bird draw.

MAC has a long-term interest in bringing poetry slams to Maricopa in a major way. Slams are typically immensely engrossing experiences, wrapping a three-round contest around a series of spirited, mini-theatrical performances. Over the past five years MAC has held a City championship and an AZ All-State Slam Championship annually. These events take place in various venues ranging from cafes to Maricopa City Hall and often have overflow crowds.

“Masks and hand sanitizer may stop COVID-19 but nothing can stop poetry,” The Klute said.

While judges and the audience will be online, competing poets and all others at City Hall must stay masked, except when performing.

Visit the Maricopa Grand Slam Facebook event for more details as they are posted.

The poetry slam is a project of nonprofit corporation Maricopa Arts Council, and is co-hosted by, in collaboration with Maricopa City Hall.