THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION, part of our juried arts programming, is open to poets seeking to gain exposure in the New York City and international arts and media market.

Its mission is to provide an accessible platform for creative writer/performers to present their best work for juried selection, increase artist communication and business contacts, provide career advancement opportunities, and publicly award the work and talents of creative artists.


Our 2021 Competition Theme: (THE) POLITICS OF EMOTION

THE ARTISTS FORUM invites artists to showcase interpretations for the phrase: The Politics of Emotion.

‘Politics’ is not necessarily defined in terms of government, policy, or voting, but in this case has a broader meaning — the navigation of the politics inherent within interpersonal relationships and its emotional impact. This idea can be applied to external circumstances within any personal, societal, national, or international scenario.


Each submission, reviewed by a panel of industry professionals, will be rated upon its individual merits. Finalists in each category will be judged against one another and a winner declared.

A list of competition jurors is forthcoming.

Award recognition for each category will be given at a live ceremony in New York City, alongside special presentations and performers. In the case of COVID-19 restrictions, our award ceremony will be conducted online and then televised on Manhattan cable stations shortly thereafter.

All festival finalists will be video profiled and promoted on our online platforms.

Winners are eligible for a formal studio or Zoom interview with host to be promoted via THE ARTISTS FORUM: AFTV -- a 20+ year arts based television program broadcasted from mid-town Manhattan in New York City.

Our Grand Prize winner will be presented with an opportunity for mentorship sessions with a prominent industry professional.

Submissions are judged on the following criteria:

• Creativity
• Originality
• Performance
• Lyrics
• Theme Interpretation


Submissions are being accepted only through

• Spoken word video performance (under 4 minutes total)
• Horizontal view preferred.
• Quality audio is necessary*
• Should music be included, it must not drown out your lyric.
• ASL performances are permissible (*audio not required for ASL performances).

• Titles should not be placed during the performance - Black with titles before and/or after acceptable.

• High Bit Rate .mov or .mp4 (Quicktime Pro Res 422 (1920x1080) preferred).

• PDF upload of poem


• Photo of artist in png or jpg format.

• Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number
• Website (if any), social media handles
• Country of Origin (usually location of artist's cultural development)
• Country of Project Creation (if different than Country of Origin)


In order to submit to this category, high school students and college undergrads must provide documentation of active enrollment in an educational institution plus your student ID.

PLEASE NOTE: Grad Students and all others are not eligible for student rates.


Entrants may submit as many spoken word video performances as they wish.
However, each submission must be accompanied by a separate online entry fee.



THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION does not pay performance fees. By submitting your work via you acknowledge that THE ARTISTS FORUM and its SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION will not pay to present your work.


By submitting your film to THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION you are hereby agree to the following terms & conditions:

I hereby state that I am legally authorized to enter this work into THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION.

I guarantee that I own the rights to this spoken word video performance and accompanying poetic lyrical work in its entirety, or that I have secured in writing all proprietary rights as required by law and any other intellectual property used in the work and indicated on this form.

I have also acquired the necessary releases for all persons, talent, and/or locations, involved in producing the work submitted for this competition.

I will indemnify, safeguard, and hold harmless THE ARTISTS FORUM INC., THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION, and all of their sponsors, related parties and/or affiliates, from any claims, damages, costs, expenses, and liabilities arising from the creation, publication, use, or reproduction of the spoken word video performance and accompanying poetic lyrical work at present or in the future, including, but not limited to, claims for negligence and other infringements, fraud, unauthorized exhibition, discrimination, defamation, and breach of contract.

I agree to give THE ARTISTS FORUM INC. and THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION a non-exclusive, perpetual right at no cost to duplicate or disperse the spoken word video performance and accompanying poetic lyrical work in any media and in any manner it deems appropriate for promotional and educational purposes related to the festival.

I hereby have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the foregoing license, and all of my content does not infringe, violate, misappropriate or otherwise conflict with the rights of any third party, and complies with all applicable laws and regulations, foreign and domestic. I accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein.

I agree to allow THE ARTISTS FORUM INC. and THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION to use photographs, audio or visual interviews of myself, and other likenesses of me, as well as, my name, either actual or fictitious. I hold THE ARTISTS FORUM INC. and THE ARTISTS FORUM SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION harmless from the damage to, or the loss of, film media and/or any publicity materials that I supply.

My submission and all activities related to my submission will be in compliance with the FilmFreeway’s Terms of Service.

I have read and fully comprehended the guidelines. I have complied with the terms of submission stated above and my application and payment into the competition verifies my acceptance of all Rules, Terms, and Submission Conditions.