Under 21 Open Mic

Our Open Mics are where poets perform new work and build bonds with young artists locally, and with our online open mics, globally.

Under 21 Open Mic
+ Teen Poetry Slam

September 9 - June 9

Sign Up

Come through to the Under 21 Open Mic, an event celebrating young people, their voices, and all the ways they manifest. Poems, songs, freestyles, speeches, dance pieces, and more are welcome. The Open Mic is open to all skill levels, age 13-21.

Every 2nd Friday • 5 pm PST
Youth Speaks Office
265 Shotwell, San Francisco

Teen Poetry Slam

For over 20 years, the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam has propelled spoken word around the globe. Youth from all over the Bay compete to become a finalist and rep the Bay at Brave New Voices.

Bring your best poem to compete for a $50 prize and a chance to represent the Bay Area at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival!

Poetry Slams are an olympic-style competition where poets have 3 minutes to rock the stage and 5 judges give it a score. The Teen Poetry Slam consists of 3 rounds — preliminary, semi-finals, and finals. The top-scoring poets in each preliminary bout move onto the semifinals, with the highest-scoring poet from each preliminary bout winning $50. The top 6 highest scoring individuals from grand slam finals are invited to represent Team Bay Area at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. Preliminary slams take place from September through December, semifinals occur in January and February, and Finals is in March.

Want to compete? Register for Under 21 Open Mics & Teen Poetry Slams below then show up to sign up to get on the mic the day of the event at 5pm PT. The Teen Poetry Slam is only open to Bay Area teens. Are you an adult that wants to help judge the event? Sign up at bit.ly/oldspeaks

Teen Poetry Slam Schedule

September 9, 2022 – June 9, 2023
Every 2nd Friday • 6 pm PST
Youth Speaks Office
265 Shotwell, San Francisco

  • Preliminary Slams: 9/9/22, 10/8/22 (as part of Life is Living in West Oakland!), 10/14/22, 11/4/22, 12/9/22
  • Semifinals Slam #1
    1/27/23, 7pm, the Bayview Opera House
    2/10/23, 7pm, the Brava Theater
  • Teen Poetry Slam Finals
    3/10/23, 7pm, Herbst Theater

Semifinal #1

Fri • Jan 27 • 7pm
Bayview Opera House
4705 3rd St, SF

Semifinal #2

Fri • Feb 10 • 7pm
Brava Theater
2781 24th Street, SF

Fri • Mar 10 • 7pm
Herbst Theater
401 Van Ness Ave, SF

Over 12 poets and other artists take the stage for a night of poetry and narrative. We are excited to have our signature event at the illustrious Herbst Theater. Youth from all over the Bay will be performing original poems for the chance to become champions and represent the Bay at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival. We want youth and families to pack the house for the premiere youth event of the year.