Thursday night saw an Inklight -St Andrews’ creative writing society who host poetry readings in Aikman’s every so often host an event as part of this year’ On the Rocks festival. But this one had a competitive edge – a jury of the committee taper down competitors to reach a top three who then perform their final poem each, and then an audience vote decides the winner.
Inklight had hyped the event up well; a characteristic tongue-in-cheek social media presence, plus the sharing of videos of several slam performances to pique interest and drum up poet recruits meant that there was a great turn out – people overflowing from the Sandy’s sofas.
Now Sandy’s is a very student union-y place, but Inklight managed to make it feel cosy (sans fairy lights too; their usual trick). An awkward rectangular stageless space actually suits such an event well, it lent it a town-hall or village room-above-the-pub feel. But really I think it was because there was plenty of warmth around: a full, supportive audience clapped and whooped every poem.
A slam poetry event attracts secret-poet competitors and curious audience members, and the atmosphere is inherently respectful – you can imagine how nerve-wracking it must be to perform your own work, with the competitive dimension of the event to boot. Loren’s charming hosting helped to set the fun yet deferential-to-poet’s-nerves mood.
The winner was Parker, a true slam poet – of course none of the voted-in cream of the crop top three just recited their poems, but this girl really performed – she was hilarious and engaging and impassioned. She said that she’d largely improvised; a sketched-out idea, the delivery bringing forth much of the content.