MulletProofPoet: This year's judge at the Nottingham Poetry Society Slam 2012
It was a hot day, but our judge was cool. Mind you, Mulletproof Poet always is... even when he has a tough job, as he did that day. As always, everyone had a chance to impress with three minutes of poetry, then the judge selected five poets to progress to the second round. I don’t think I could have narrowed the field down to five, let alone picked first, second and third places. Mulletproof Poet obviously had problems too, as he added a fourth place ‘honourable mention’ for Dori Kirchmair.
I caught up with Mulletproof after his ordeal, and he told me, “I was deeply honoured when they asked me to judge this year's Nottingham Poetry Society annual slam. For those not initiated I can only describe the event as a wonderful mix of sheer eccentricity, beauty, comedy and talent that could only occur in the city that also brought you Arthur Seaton, Robin Hood, Torvill and Dean and Su Pollard. Magic.” I can only agree. The variety of poets and performances was stunning.
Dori Kirchmair (fourth place) writes poetry and short stories. Her spoken word performances include a short story with the title ‘Resonance’ and a range of poems about relationships, friendships and finding yourself. I’ve only recently come across Dori’s work, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops her themes.
Leo Swarvett (third place) is a performance poet in the true sense of the word – including delightful ranting and singing in his act. His writing comes from “a mixture of things such as puzzlement, sense of humour, childishness and sometimes pure displeasure at how things work.” This showed in his opening poem, 4TK, which expressed disbelief at sports players who struggle to be happy when they earn forty thousand pounds a week!
Katy Carrington (second place) writes more traditional poetry, but her work is no less powerful for that. She says, “I suppose one of the best, oldest impulses to write is microcosm-macrocosm, in us, all round us, one story telling another. And hope for the jokes.” Her use of imagery to bring sometimes commonplace events alive is stunning. She asked me to call her work ‘short writings’, but I think they’re fully deserving of the title ‘poems’.
Bee Patience - First Prize winner of Nottingham Poetry Society 2012 Poetry Slam
I’ve know Bee Patience – first prize winner – for nearly three years now. She’s just finished studying for a BA in Creative and Professional Writing at Nottingham University, and it’s been a pleasure watching her develop her poetry over those years. The two poems she read for the competition are stark and relentless in their impact, there’s no beauty in the message, but her words and delivery are simply gorgeous.
Bee said, “Winning was great, obviously, but it was the comments from the judge and from the other competitors which really meant something – just having that recognition. Poetry to me is capturing a moment or an image or an opinion as succinctly as possible. I want people to be able to see, smell, hear, taste and feel the content of my poetry. For others to understand what I'm trying to communicate - and appreciate the way I try to communicate it - feels like success to me.”
Bee’s planning to go into teaching... but I think she’s got a shining career ahead as a performance poet. She’s definitely one to watch.
MulletProofPoet kindly finished off the afternoon by reading a poem from his new pamphlet from Crystal Clear Creators, Citizen Kaned. And then I saw him on the telly a couple of weeks later (on the BBC4 John Cooper Clarke documentary) – we certainly have top-notch judges and top-notch competitors at the Poetry Society!
Nottingham Poetry Society meets at 2.45pm on the fourth Saturday of every month (except August and December) at the Nottingham Mechanics on North Sherwood Street. Visitors and new members are always welcome.
The winning poems will be published in the August/September Issue of LeftLion Magazine.