What is the BAM! Toronto Youth Poetry Team?

The BAM! team is a group of the top 6-7 poets of the regular slam poetry season, that is decided after the final poetry slam (for more info, refer to "STANDINGS" document). These poets will be working together over the course of the year (Until the next final slam). These poets will be involved in a number of initiatives like: competing in 1 to 2 different international youth spoken word festivals (Brave New Voices, Louder than a Bomb), our own national festival in Ottawa (YouthCanSlam), feature on other stages across the province (and get paid for it!), create team pieces as well as work on your own repertoire with the guidance of the BAM! Slam Coach Patrick de Belen, and so much more.

How often do they gather?

The team gathers regularly throughout the year. Obviously when dealing with the schedules of 6-7 youth (most of them students), practices, gigs, and festivals are a challenge to organize, but it always seems to work out! The schedule is decided at the first BAM! team meeting.

Is there any age requirement?

12-21 years of age. Note: If a member is 20 or 21 (or turns 20 anytime during the season) they will NOT be able to COMPETE in any of the INTERNATIONAL team slams (LTAB, BNV), but they will still be able to go and enjoy it, participate in the other showcases/slams that are a part of those festivals, and compete in our own National Youth Spoken Word Festival (YouthCanSlam) in Ottawa.

Why join the BAM! Poetry Team?

There is no other youth arts initiative quite like this one that exists anywhere else in Toronto and the GTA. Not only is it cheap therapy and a great outlet for youth to express themselves and tell their story, but it also gives them an introduction into the life of a full-time artist. Event organizing, social media promotions, creative writing, public speaking and performance art, tour management, portfolio-building and workshop facilitation are some of the many things they will experience on this journey. The most important thing: They will be part of a rapidly growing community of young people, who will connect, share, and grow together in the same space. Spoken Word is just the medium.


All poets - You will all perform in our feature sets throughout the year, as well as participate in all of the local BAM! Initiatives. You will also all be eligible to travel with the team to every event, but will be involved in different degrees, depending on your placement.

First 5 poets - You are the core team for our National Festival (YouthCanSlam) including our alternate poet (5th poet)

First 6 poets - You are the core team for our International festivals (BNV, LTAB) including our alternate poet (6th poet)

7th poet - You will be able to attend all of the events above, but not be able to officially compete on the team for the main team poetry slam tournament in each festival. You will, however, be allowed to perform in other events during the festival, as well as work as the co-coach with Patrick.

For more info please email: bamyouthslam@gmail.com