July 14, 2018
Workshop, bouts, finals, after party. All in one day


We'll put new information up as soon as we have it.

Up to 10 teams. No indies.

  1. Haribo Starmix - Columbus, OH
  2. Sounds Like a Personal Problem - Columbus, OH
  3. Scores Mean Everything - Columbus, OH
  4. Dayton Poetry Slam - Dayton, OH
  5. Freshwater Wordsmiths - Detroit, MI

Previous winners

2018 1st place: Freshwater Wordsmiths: Deonte Osayande, Prostell Thomas, Kevlar Africa, Clarity Levine
2018 2nd place: Dayton Poetry Slam: The Poet Y, Lexie, The Bars Kid, Dillon Allen
2018 3rd place: Sounds Like a Personal Problem: Alexis Mitchell, Ed Plunkett, Andy Anderson, Bill Abbott, Jaison Tremain

2017 1st place: Butter Twerk: Ephraim Nehemiah, Akeemjamal Rollins, Damien McClendon, Christine Howey
2017 2nd place: Black Bars and Battle Scars: Mathias Jackson, Shameaca Moore, Tripp Fontaine, Matthew Vaughn
2017 3rd place: Harriet's Shotgun: Izetta Nicole, Barbara Fant, Tiffani Smith, Chauncey Beaty
2017 4th place: Fuck Your Competitive Bullshit: Su Flatt, Zach Hannah, Nathan Cintax, Ryan Javery

2016 1st place: Team Ratchet - Siaara Freeman, Rachel Wiley, Meaca Moore, Brittany Rodgers
2016 2nd place: Dayton Poetry Slam: Link Schreiber, Johnathan Gallienne, Professor X, Nate Tipton
2016 3rd place: No Means No, Su Flatt, Nathan Cintax, Gray Clark, Sara Trattner

2015 1st place: Writers' Block Slam Team 2015: Nathan Cintax, Mathias Jackson, Betsy Clark, Janel Taylor, Ephraim Nehemiah
2015 2nd place: Slippery Nipple: Su Flatt, Calla Thomas, Sara Trattner, Katrina K.

2014 1st place: Shug Avery's Bath Water: Scott Woods, Izetta Nicole Thomas, Siaara Freeman, Searius Addison
2014 2nd place: Pussy Power: Betsy Clark, Calla Thomas, Louise Robertson, Katrina K.


  1. Original work only.
    If you didn’t write it, don’t perform it.
  2. Teams of 4 poets only.
    Play ‘em however you want, but you need 4 to show up.
  3. 5 judges scoring from 0-10, may use 1 decimal place.
    We drop the high and low and add the 3 in the middle.
  4. Solos, duets, trios and quartets are allowed.
    Who wrote it? Don’t care.
  5. You got 3 minutes.
    No grace period. If you go over, we take half a point for every 10 seconds. If you go to 4 minutes your whole poem get s a zero.

Schedule - July 14, 2018

Everything is at Kafe Kerouac (2250 N High St., Columbus, OH) unless otherwise noted.

10amWorkshop with Hanif Abdurraqib.
Northside branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library
2-2:30 pmTeam Orientation
This is for the teams. You need to be there to get your badges, find out the scoop, ask questions and realize there's no 10 second grace period on the poems. Rules.
3-6 pmPrelim Bouts.
The magic happens here.
6-8 pmDinner Break.
This looks a lot like the lunch break.
8-10 pmFinals.
Even more magic. These poets have clawed their way through and ascended the six full inches to the finals stage. We salute you!
10 pmAfter Party.
You know what to do.

A Word from the Hosts

The poetry slam is a proud, long-standing poetry tradition. For over 25 years poetry slams the world over have changed the face of the art form all over the planet. The Ohio MeatGrinder Slam operates in the spirit of the roots of Slam, putting a good time had by all above all other considerations. To this end, we’ve opted to install only a handful of rules and to distill the experience of a true roots-based poetry slam into one soul-packing day of poetry…no drama, no fuss.

We will have a morning workshop, registration, preliminary bouts, finals and an after party all in the span of one day … that’s where the grind comes in. It’s like a Slam festival but without all of the workload, demands and infrastructure that larger festivals demand. You come, you enjoy the shows, you go home. Please tip your bartender.

This event is about allowing poets to play with the form of poetry in ways that traditional slam competitions often prohibit. You might see a team with props or in costume or playing instruments during a poem. The goal of the poets is to engage you and we encourage them to do so as they see fit, while still attempting to bring honest and earnest poems to the stage and without turning all of this into an actual competitive agenda. We don’t care about who wins and we’re largely disinterested in creating an environment in which anyone else does either.

Ohio and the rest of the Mid West is home to a great many phenomenal poets and writing traditions. We want to celebrate those artists and legacies. It is our hope that you witness every manner of voice, story, and emotion that we can fit into one day, and that you walk away happy to have been part of a truly unique and profound artistic experience whether you be an audience member or a competing poet.

See you at the slam!

Louise Robertson & Scott Woods
Founders – The Ohio MeatGrinder Slam


When we get some press, we're putting the links here.

  1. Event puts poets through MeatGrinder
  2. 27 things to do the weekend of July 21 [ the Ohio MeatGrinder is one of them ]