South Australian State Poetry Slam Final

"Adelaide is ...."

“Adelaide is ….”

The State Slam final was last Friday night (November 2nd 2012), and I was one of 10 finalists, at a packed out Higher Ground, Light Square, Adelaide.

In case you don’t know how a slam works, here’s a quick summary:

– You’ve got 2 minutes only to present your poem.
– 5 Judges are picked at random from the audience. The judges score each poet out of 10, holding up a score card, just like they used to in the Olympics and Come Dancing.
– The top and bottom judge scores are excluded. So you score according to the other 3 judges scores. e.g. if the judges scored you 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 the 9 and the 5 are ignored and you score 6+7+8=21.
– For every 30 seconds or part thereof you go over 2 minutes you lose a point.
– Order of presentation is also random – 10 names go into a hat and the next contestant is picked out of the hat, usually by an audience member.
– the top 2 scorers win $500 and $250 respectively, and an expenses paid trip to compete in the National Final in Sydney in December.

So it’s all about tension and audience involvement and randomness and entertainment.

So on Friday night, I was up against the best in the State. I was convinced I would be picked first out of the hat, but as it turned out I was number 10, so I sat at the back of the packed venue right to the very end, nervously biding my time.

I did a much updated version of my “Adelaide is….” poem, which, in practice, I timed at about 1 minute 50 seconds give or take. I was very pleased with how I did it – definitely my best ever performance. I can’t remember the judges scores, because I was too relieved just to have ‘nailed it’, but there was a 10 in there and a 7.6, and the other scores were, I think in the 8s and 9s. Good scores, very pleasing. I got great audience response, so much so, that I had to wait a few times for the laughter to die down. I’m told that, as a result, I went ONE SECOND over time, which would have cost me a point. My friend Russ reckons I came 3rd overall, but wherever I came, I was up there with the leaders. And the two winners, who are off to Sydney to compete in the Nationals, Gemma Boyd and LaCole Foots, were worthy winners.

Amongst the many people I spoke to afterwards, one young bloke wants me to work with him in setting my poem to music – could be an interesting project.

So a great night, and the whole experience has made me lift my performing skills to a new level.

If you have Facebook, you can see pics at:

and here’s one of all the finalists:

Slam Finalists, Higher Ground, November 2nd 2012

(Photos courtesy, I think, Tanya Jane Brain)