This year’s slam poetry final was one not to be missed with a wide range of talented slammers presenting a range of topics in different ways, as well as guest performances from the man Allan Boyd himself (this poem is about…) as well as division one competitor Will Gawned. Held at The Rosemount on Saturday, nine contestants handpicked from three divisions of slammers performed, resulting in very high scores making it overall a very tough competition. With everyone’s favourite slammer Maddie Godfrey claiming first place (with a score of 27.43), followed by runner-up Zainab Syed (26.77), it was a clean sweep from the girls, who had seven guys against them.
Held at the same venue as the three qualifying divisions, The Rosemount was a seemingly perfect venue from what I saw at division one. But for the final, it was a different story. Cramped into a small rectangular room, it was no surprise that the show was sold out in less than an hour, with crowds and judges pressed up to each other, making the struggle of consumption of ones alcoholic beverage more than real. To me, the venue for the final was a bit of a letdown, because having been so squished in against other people, I couldn’t even see the slammer performing at the time, which did hinder my interpretation of the individual pieces because slamming isn’t just about words, it’s also about movement. A suggestion for next year would be to find an awesome venue just like how The Bakery was, because for the Slam Poetry Final last year, everyone could see and enjoy the slam. Again like last year, the judges were chosen at random and somehow managed to display their scores despite a lack of personal space.
The competition at Perth’s Poetry Slam was highly competitive with a huge amount of talent, which made for a very entertaining slam. The final began with Snoop Bilby slamming about the indivisible line of life, leading to Rian Howlett, approaching ideas of trees and animals and nature. Mark Jelley was a performance I was most looking forward to, with his original slam at division one being hilarious and about being stung on the genitals by a jellyfish. But his change of topic and direction perhaps wasn’t what the judges were looking for, placing him last with a score of 21.43. Crowd-favourite from division one Maddi Godfrey was next, with her amazing repeat performance of one’s body being a prison, a crime scene, a puzzle, not mine, not home, and broken. Jessie Oliver slammed about relationships, giving him third position with a score of 26.19, leading to Will Leach’s very clever slam using one vowel (i), to talk about Tim who fills bins, rewarding him with fourth place with a score of 25.10. A more advanced slammer, Allan Padgett gave us an interesting slam about identity and memories, but with a lack of voice differentiation, landing him with 24.80. Zainab Syed surprised me with her use of culture and her mum in her slam, leaving us with the thought that “a wish once made can never be undone”, whilst Matt Norman again gave us his “10 Reasons Why This Poem Sucks” slam, giving him a score of 24.34. I loved how each poem was unique and approached topics in ways that one didn’t always expect, giving us all something to take away and think about.
Overall, the Perth Poetry Slam Final was entertaining, hilarious, and a great time had by all. The only thing to perhaps improve on would be the judging system, as picking judges at random from the audience may be a bit bias due to a lot of the audience knowing one another… but that’s something to consider for next year, and the only improvement I can think of to an otherwise awesome final. Congratulations to Maddie and Zainab who will be travelling to Sydney to compete in the national finals, whose winner receives an all-expenses paid tour to China’s Bookworm International Literary Festival and Bali’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.
Remember guys, there’s only one winner in a slam competition, and that’s poetry!