More Than A Literary Festival

2023 Slam Auditions Begin After Carnival

The 2023 instalment of the First Citizens National Poetry Slam is set to begin just after Carnival. 

With auditions kicking off on Friday 24 February, the hotly contested annual spoken word championship has returned to its traditional pre-COVID schedule, leading up to the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest, running from 28 to 30 April. The Slam finals will once again be the high-energy closing event of the festival.

Auditionees and audiences can look forward to a hybrid format for this Slam season. Poets must register online and will have the option to perform their pieces before a live judging panel either virtually or before a limited-seating audience at The Writers Centre, Port of Spain. Special consideration for virtual auditions will be given to entrants from Tobago and South Trinidad. Patrons can book their seats online. Each audition will be streamed live on the National Poetry Slam’s Facebook page.

The dates and times are Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February, from 5 to 8 pm, and Sunday 26 February, from 1 to 4 pm. 

In 2022, 20 poets made it to the semifinal round. This year, 30 poets will move on to the second stage of the lyrical tournament. 2022 winner Alexandra Stewart will automatically advance to the finals in hopes of defending her title and again making history as the Defending Champion with the most Grand Slam titles. According to Alexandra, “Sharing poetry is an act of intimacy that makes most people tremble. When it comes to auditions, don’t reject yourself. Take the leap and see where you land.”  On defending the top spot, Stewart said, “This will be my 8th year in the finals and like every year before the plan is to work relentlessly, try something new and speak from the heart.”

“There’s no question that the First Citizens National Poetry Slam is the most anticipated event of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago,” says NGC Bocas Lit Fest festival director Nicholas Laughlin. “There’s a long history of spoken word and performance poetry in T&T. It’s been a vital vehicle for younger writers in particular to express their concerns and hopes. The First Citizens National Poetry Slam has brought the artform to an extraordinary level of public attention and respect, and we’re delighted that in 2023 the finals will return to their traditional place as the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s closing event.”

The auditions will be judged by Head Judge, Elisha Bartels, David Roberts, Jayron “DJ Rawkus” Remy, Nehilet Blackman and Lawrence Arjoon.

Semifinals will be held on the 25 and 26 of March.

For more information, visit 

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