There is a dangerous underground movement afoot. Mention it softly, but people gather together in darkened rooms and read poetry to each other and an assembled audience. They are called Slams. This is the new poetry. Often loud, verbose and polemical, the rock-stars of this world are growing in number and reputation, taking inspiration from the Beat Generation of Ginsberg et al, the work is confrontational, vibrant and very much in the zeitgeist.
We sent forth our bravest and perhaps some of our best poets to do battle in this gladiatorial arena armed only with our verses, a little wit, some passion and as much phlegm as we could cough up.
The All Ireland Poetry Slam https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008298760465&ref=ts&fref=ts chose Enniskillen as it’s North-West venure – dodgy geography mayhap, but as our Scottish host said ”Ye’s all are South to me in Scotland anyway!’ We gave our names – some fun with myself as the spelling and pronunciation of my middle name flummoxed our guest judges. (Not the best start.)
When you peruse the corpus of classical poetry, you may wonder what relevance the art may have for today; here, with the entrants, you had the environment, international politic a letter from a dog, a river’s winding tale and an elegy of a Welsh tragedy amongst many other varid topics. Showing the versatality and essential nature of our art and its relevance to the now and promising a fecund future.
Our own John D Kelly secured 3rd place and a bottle of wine, pipped on the line by a new face, Maximun Homio Sapiens who took 2nd place and the ever-familiar Stephen Murphy from over the border winning 1st place and passage to the Grand Final. Stephen, taking our poetry prizes, following in the ignoble tradition of rustling cattle, kidnapping fair maidens and other less salubrious cross-border activities.
Good luck for the final in Kilkenny, Stephen!
Our thanks to the organisers of the Slam and to the volunteer judges, who chose well.