In Adelaide for the past two years, Spoken Word Poetry South Australia has held a competition for young slam poets under 26, to encourage and instigate a culture of poetry in the next generation. Workshops are held with some young poets to teach them how to write slam poetry, and the process continues into four heats, and a grand final.
Slam, beat or spoken word poetry is a type of poetry written to be performed, and has a specific rhythm, beat and flow to it. This type of poetry is often used to talk about more serious political topics, or as a vessel to talk about mental health, although equally it’s used in stand-up comedy or to tell stories. A poetry slam is an event in which contestants have two minutes to perform their poem, and five judges are picked from the audience, to give poets a score out of 10. The top two poets from each slam heat are then picked to compete in the grand slam.
On Friday the 25th of May, Year 7 student, Audrey Mason Hyde, competed in one of the four heats, held in the Dymocks bookstore in Rundle Mall. Audrey had a nerve-racking wait, having to perform after nine other poet/ competitors. Given the high quality of poetry on the night Audrey was both thrilled and surprised to have been selected to move though to the next stage – the grand slam.
After that heat, Audrey began to work on and finalise details in a new poem, to perform in the grand slam, which was on Friday the 15th of June.
When the night finally came, there was a lot of pressure and some incredible poetry, including that from a special guest, called Thomas Ford. For the prize ceremony, the finalists were lined up across the stage (see the attached photo) and the top four poets were awarded their prizes. Audrey, of course, won the first prize, or ‘the lettuce’!
Audrey said, “It was an amazing experience, and I am so passionate about the content of the poem, so I really wanted that to come across to the audience through my performance”. Audrey will now work on further poems and performances for a national competition.
What am amazing effort from an Unley Primary student – we are so proud of this achievement!