Antwerp Likes Us

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[ALL THE SLAM CHAMPS there, courtesy of Younness]

So I went to Antwerp last Saturday to represent the UK in the European Slam Championships organized by Creatif Schriven in Belgium. Arrived 2h late on Saturday morning thanks to a delay at Dover, managed to borrow a phone card from an old man, called up the organizers to let them know I was alive and was soon whisked away to the hostel to meet the other competitors and then to help with the last-minute translating of a French poem into English…because, I realised, as the UK representative, I WAS THE Native English Speaker  there (I don’t know any French: it was more of translating English explanations of French metaphors into English. I guess I know a bit more French now.)

Met a bunch of freaking amazing poets from Spain, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Serbia, Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Hungary, representing about 13 different lanugages and an incredibly number of different styles. They had been there since Thursday. Was definitely one of the most intense slams I’ve been to.

Dani Orviz from Spain won First Place with his slick, rapid-fire delivery and perfectly choreographed movement (the first poet ever to convince the world he was a beautiful evil singing automated bank teller machine). Youness from Belgium won 2nd with incredibly deep lines and the kind of simple but mesmerizing performance that leaves everyone hanging onto every word, believing every metaphor no matter how complex (in ‘Don’t ask Me My Name’, what I remember is something along the lines of ‘to judge me on what I am is to throw away the gift of my heart because of the box it came in’). The UK representative came in a close third with a Letter to My 12 year Old Self and the poem about Satellites delivered really fast.

But seriously, it was a great weekend, sad that I could not get there earlier but thank you to everyone I met, shared the stage with, nervously paced up and down the backstage with, signed posters with and later partied with, Phillip Meersman one of the main organizeers, Laura who picked me up, and Farrago Poetry for helping me get there. More stories to come when I finish my exams.

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