Poetry Slam at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival

Went to the Poetry Slam (run by Hammer and Tongue) at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival.

People got up and had three minutes to read their work. Five random audience members held up scores, and the middle three scores were added up for the final score.

On the spur of the moment, egged on by Paddington Clare, and very terrified, I entered the slam under my maiden name (which is my poetry name) Jen Russell. I got Russ to text my poems and read one of them, called ‘The Western Arcade’, off the screen of my mobile phone. They had to tell me to talk into the microphone, my legs were shaking and I was sure I was going to throw up.

The round of applause and decent scores was great validation and even though it took an hour for my heartbeat to get back to normal, I’m glad I did it.

Now here’s the surprise… I came joint first! So I’m through to the regionals in Oxford on 14th May. I have to have three poems ready in case I get through all the rounds, so am having a think about which would work best in performance. I might also have to memorise them which would work better than reading off my phone.

Thanks to Hammer and Tongue for organising such a fun, adrenalin rush of an event in celebration of participation and poetry.



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