Poetry Slam



unknown (2007)

Dreadlock Alien (2009)


BBC Radio 4, 30 August 2007 to 8 October 2009 (6 programmes in two series)


In the late 1980s, there was a fad for poetry performed at coffee houses and bars in America. These "Open Mic" nights allowed anyone to stand up and read or otherwise perform their work. Almost inevitably, these sessions turned competitive, and the concept of the Poetry Slam was born. In a Slam, a number of judges rank each performance as a piece of theatre, and as a piece of poetry, and on the audience response. The best performer over a number of rounds is held to be the winner, and wins.

Almost a quarter of a century after the original contest, the BBC finally organised a Slam of its own. The contest began with regional heats, from which eighteen poets progressed to semi-finals and the final. The 2009 show was hosted by Dreadlock Alien, himself a veteran slammer, and the City Poet for Birmingham for 2008.

Web links

BBC programme page

Spoken word poetry at H2G2.


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