Hannah Davies won the packed and storming Bristol Poetry festival Poetry Slam 2016. We asked Hannah to tell us about her experience.
‘I am so delighted to be the winner of this year’s Bristol Poetry Festival Open Slam – this was a slam like no other, 18 top notch poets battling it out at the Arnolfini for the £100 cash prize.
I am a Yorkshire based poet and am relatively new to the spoken word scene, I won my first slam, The Great Northern Slam at Northern Stage in Newcastle, in March of this year. Since then I have started to pick up slots and gigs around the North and it has been such a pleasure to have such a warm response to my work from audiences and promoters on the poetry scene. I love travelling to new venues, and meeting new people and saying my words in places I’ve never been before, so I was really keen to step out of my comfort zone and try slamming in a completely new city.
Bristol is somewhere I have a lot of love for (my two best friends live here) so I decided to enter the Bristol Poetry Festival Slam and check out the scene here. I was really excited about the possibility of performing at the Arnolfini, among poets I had never heard before and after a rather a long drive down south it soon became apparent that I was up against some seriously tough competition.
Slams always take different formats in terms of the way they are set up and judged, and the Bristol Poetry Festival Slam was one where the competition and judging was fierce. The evening was expertly hosted and having the three judges and hold up their scores on cards for each poet after each heat gave the evening a thrilling, nail biting edge, and as the evening progressed the audience clapped and cheered and foot stomped like crazy things. The first round was tough, but it was such a delight to sit through the six heats and hear one great poem after another, they just kept on coming!
One of the things I love about poetry and spoken word is the immediacy of the form. In its essence it’s simple; people stand up and say what they think and feel using creative language and the power of their voice. But I am always astounded at the places that this can take you. Spoken word and language is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Words can take us to places within our selves that have never been uttered or shared and also to worlds and places beyond our own experience. Witnessing others speak from their authentic selves, using their own unique turn of phrase is always inspiring to me and Saturday’s slam was a good example of how powerful this can be. I may have won the slam (and I do remember doing a rather strange involuntary celebratory dance on receipt of my certificate) but I am of the opinion that anyone that dares to stand up and share their heart and soul is a winner, and that means everyone that I saw perform on Saturday night. Outspoken authenticity is rare in this world and we need more of it.
One of the nicest things about Saturday for me, was having a few drinks and a dance with some of the other poets after the slam, and making new friends in a city that I love. I hope to back soon Bristol. Until then, thank you for having this Northern lass, and thank you for a super great slam.’
For more about Hannah visit www.hannah-davies.co.uk or find her on twitter: @DaviesHC
Hannah will be appearing in Leicester on 26th October: www.upstairsatthewestern.com/shows/find-the-right-words
Also in the Anti-Slam final in London in 9th December at the Hackney Attic: www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/Whats_On