The mission of Poetry Slam Incorporated (PSI) is to promote the performance and creation of poetry while cultivating literary activities and spoken word events in order to build audience participation, stimulate creativity, awaken minds, foster education, inspire mentoring, encourage artistic statement and engage communities worldwide in the revelry of language.
Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams. Though slams are maintained in a growing number of cities by local volunteer organizers, the vast majority of slam series follow the rules established by the governing body, and are certified by the governing body as slams that adhere to the vision slam's founders established for the art form over a decade ago. Because of slam's exponential growth as an art form, PSI has emerged not only as an administrative body to maintain the rules that govern slam, but also as an organization that seeks to grow slam's audience and protect slam's interests. The Executive Council, headed by a seven-member Executive Council comprised of poets and slam organizers, and voted on by representatives of local slams, maintains a vigilant watch of poetry slam series worldwide, insuring that slam maintains itself as an art form open to all competitors. Through the certification process and its annual organizational meetings, PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets who are in frequent communication with one another, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam. Poets from the community frequently embark on poetry tours in other slam cities, relying on each other to set up the venues and housing necessary for such tours.
While PSI's main focus in past years has been the maintenance and growth of the National Poetry Slam, the organization is embarking on a series of programs and actions that seek to increase the public awareness of slams. These projects include the maintenance of an official website, an agreement with television producers seeking to stage slams for a major cable television network, and the formation of regional competitions, which would place officially-sanctioned team competitions in a number of host cities each year and concentrate the high level of talent present at the annual Nationals.
Poetry Slam, Inc. was first officially proposed in August of 1996, at the Slam Family meeting in Portland, Oregon, though it had been talked about at the annual spring meeting for at least two years prior to that.
A corporate Charter and official bylaws worked their way into existence through several steps over the course of the next year. But, by official and unanimous acclimation, Poetry Slam, Inc. was brought to reality on August 9, 1997.
The Amended Articles of Incorporation identify the purposes for which the corporation is organized are:
Educational and literary purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revue Code of 1986...including the following:
- To advocate, promote, support, witness, and/or perpetuate the art of performance poetry.
- To enhance the perception of literary merit and legitimacy of performance poetry as an art form.
- To manage the international affairs of the National Poetry Slam community.
- To protect the artistic and financial interests of the National Poetry Slam community.
- To promote and perpetuate the National Poetry Slam.
On November 9, 1999 Poetry Slam, Inc. became an official State of Illinois Charitable Trust and was granted permission to seek funds under the Solicitation for Charity Act in the state of Illinois.
On November 23, 1999, Poetry Slam, Inc. was granted official tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Service Code, retroactive to August 9, 1997, the day of our inception.
As an official tax-exempt organization, PSI can receive tax-exempt contributions from anyone who pays United States Income tax, and that's just about everybody we know! (except for those folks running around in camouflage in Montana.