Slam University: Adult Workshop & Class Series

Looking to break into performance poetry? Ever watched a great poetry slam and thought, “how do they do that?” Already established and looking to take your performance and writing to the next level? Slam University is the answer. Led by professionals in the field and based on the teachings of founder of the poetry slam, Marc Kelly Smith, our curriculum teaches you the essential skills to write and perform poetry like a pro. Whether you’re a curious novice or seasoned vet, Slam University has just the class for you. Classes offered to students aged 16+.

The Courses

*Note all courses (except Bonus and Masterclasses) have a maximum of 12 students.

*No refunds will be given due to scheduling concerns. If a student finds it necessary to drop a class, credit can be arranged for future enrollment.

Slam 101 – Beginner

Duration: 8 sessions
Currently Offered: Wednesdays, March 15 – May 3rd; 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Upcoming: Tuesdays, June 6th – August 1st; 7:30pm – 9:30pm (No Class July 4th)
Location: Que4 Studios – 2643 W Chicago Ave, Chicago

Slam 101 is where it all begins. Whether you’ve tried your hand at a local poetry slam or never written a poem in your life, this course is essential in going from page to stage –  great for those looking to get their foot in the door or just get started in the world of performance poetry. Part poetry class and part acting workshop, Slam 101 covers the basics of poetry construction and analysis, performance techniques, vocal inflection, and personal coaching and critique from the instructor.

Instructor: J.W. Basilo
Requirements: None


Slam U -Catch Up *Bonus Class*

Duration: 4 sessions
Currently Offered: Not currently offered – check back soon!
Location: Que4 Studios – 2643 W Chicago Ave, Chicago

This class was created specifically for previous Slam U 101 students with lapsed enrollment who want to brush up before enrolling in the new 201, or previous students looking to refresh their skills, learn a few new tricks, or prepare for the upcoming slam season. Classes will focus on highly personalized attention, as well as new techniques and writing prompts that don’t normally show up in the curriculum.

Instructor: J.W. Basilo
Requirements: Completion of any Slam U course or previous approval of the instructor.


Slam 201 – Intermediate

Duration: 8 Sessions
Currently Offered: Wednesdays, May 10 – July 28; 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Upcoming: Tuesdays, August 15 – October 3; 7:30pm – 9:30pm
Location:  Que4 Studios – 2643 W Chicago Ave, Chicago

Slam 201 is the next step on your journey to being a top-notch performance poet, taking the essential tools learned in Slam 101 to the next level with more advanced performance techniques and a greater emphasis on writing and critique. This is an intense poetry course not for the faint of heart that focuses on the quality of the craft on the page. Students will learn advanced writing and editing techniques along with publishing tips, touring advice, and what it takes to go “pro.” The best part? Graduates of this course will all receive a spotlight feature at the Uptown Poetry Slam to show off their new chops!

Instructor: Marty McConnell (writing) & A Rotating Professional “Guest Artist” (performance)
Requirements: Completion of Slam 101, placement on a nationally-recognized slam team, or prior approval from the instructor.



Slam 301 – Advanced

Duration: 6 weeks
Currently Offered – Mondays, August 7 – September 18th (No Class Labor Day)

Slam 301 is the “ropes course.” Learn advanced techniques, industry insights, intense coaching, and the secrets to creating stellar ensemble performances from the guy who started it all, Marc “So What” Smith.

Instructor: Marc Smith
Requirements: Completion of Slam 201

Location: Chicago Slam Works at Que4 Studios – 2643 W Chicago Ave.