Frankly my dear, I do give a slam

Monday, 10th March 2014

I enjoyed a few firsts this weekend past. No, no, I wasn't placed first...far from it, but I attended StAnza (St Andrews' world-famous poetry festival), made my slam debut outside Aberdeen while there and, most importantly, I finally performed to an audience sans script, paper, notes...basically, I did it from memory. I made eye contact, I acted the part, I loved it.

People have told me these away slams are a real eye-opener. They do things different south of Dundee it seems and that's the thing - nearly everyone does this whole darn performance poetry thing differently. Sometimes it's hard to see the joins - where does esoteric prose or even stand-up comedy end and poetry begin, but my God it's rhythmical, timed, it's buzzing, it's exciting.

With sixteen of us in the first round, it was a real shame that we didn't hear more from everyone. I loved Tracey S. Rosenberg's witty anti-Fringe actor piece (which she later told me was borne from a Luke Wright workshop), Graeme Hawley's love for crisp towels, Callum O'Dwyer's piece had me in stitches and I wish I had been able to enjoy Rachel Rankin's piece just before mine, but I was too busy concentrating on not tripping up on my way to the stage, such was the quick handover between poets.

Sally Evans' brilliant proposal of poetry as the new Scottish currency saw her through to the final with Jessica Smith and Agnes Torok - a fitting trio of great poets for International Women's Day. Voting must have been very tight but Agnes (pictured with hosts Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum) was crowned champion and goes forward to the Scottish slam championships this Sunday at the Oran Mor in Glasgow. If you're anywhere near then make sure you pop along - it's no wonder slam poetry continues to go from strength to strength with this talent out there.

Me? I'm off to write some new pieces, learn them and prepare for next year.