What's the difference between poetry recitation and poetry slam?

Recitation allows the audience to hear the author's words and experience the poem. It does not involve performing the poem with large gestures, accents, or in the voice of a character. Rather, it is about sharing the experience of poetry with an audience by inhabiting the language and tone of the poem with the appropriate level of dramatization. The focus should be on the poem itself, not on the performer.

Hodari Davis, National Program Director for Brave New Voices / Youth Speaks, says, “Poetry Slam involves competition, performance and theater, and the poems are judged based on performance not necessarily based on the writing. Additionally the poetry slam involves performing pieces you have written or co-authored.”