About the Collection

If you are a poet, organizer, or fan who has materials you wish to have preserved, visit our Collections Contributions page!

The preservation of slam poetry performances begins, of course, with recordings. P4 collects audio and video recordings, primarily those donated by our fans and benefactors, and by slammasters and poetry hosts in venues around the country and around the world.  We also collect print materials (chapbooks, zines, etc.), slam artifacts, materials related to slam’s history and its poets, to broaden the context in which the performances rest. 

Our primary  goal is to convert the original material, where feasible, into digital files to protect the content from media degradation and obsolescence. This also allows us to duplicate the content to ensure that the loss of any one copy will not be the loss of all.

Our more fundamental goal is to make our collection’s content available for scholarship in literature and the social sciences. Our favorite goal is, with the proper permissions, to make the poetry and performances of slam’s first 25 years public to everyone over the Internet.

What do we collect?

  • AUDIO: P4 collects CDS, tapes, albums and digital recordings of all types of poets and poetry slams related to the first 25 years of the poetry slam.

  • VIDEO: P4 collects VHS, DVD, film and digital visual recordings of all kinds which are related to the first 25 years of the poetry slam movement.

  • PRINT: P4 collects books, chapbooks, fliers, posters, badges, programs and other paper ephemera related to the first 25 years of the poetry slam.

  • EPHEMERA:  We have a small collection of odds and ends that we believe help show the history of the poetry slam.  This includes posters, programs from events, and even items such as the Poetry Slam board game!

Collection Overview:

You can access the collection catalog to find objects, performances, poets, ensembles, and slams by going to our Search the Collection page.  Below is a summation of the amount and types of material we've already collected, and new material is being added all the time.  We collect a broad selection of slam poetry performances in audio, video and other media formats, as well as print, chapbooks, and other ephemera. As of November, 2016, we have cataloged more than 1,400 items, including more than:

  • 500 CDs
  • 40 DVDs
  • 50 Mini Disks
  • 175 MiniDV Tapes
  • 75 VHS and VHS-C Tapes
  • 50 Zines
  • 50 Books
  • 650 Chapbooks
  • 2 Hard Drives

These media contain thousands of slam poets and more than 21,000 performances of poems, including stage, studio, and print. There is also raw video footage recorded during National Poetry Slams, at local venues, and candid videos of poets rehearsing, planning strategy, and enjoying each other’s company. Over 1,600 IndieFeed Performance Poetry podcasts, each highlighting an individual poet and poem, are also part of the collection. 

If you are a poet, organizer, or fan who has materials you wish to have preserved, visit our Collections Contributions page!