BBC Radio 4 launches its first Poetry Slam contest

BBC Radio 4 will stage and transmit its first-ever poetry slam competition this summer in which some of the best-known as well as up-and-coming spoken word performers from all around the country will battle it out for the title of Radio 4 Slam Winner 2007.

A Poetry Slam is a knockout performance poetry competition in which poets perform their own work to a time limit and are given scores based on content, style, delivery and level of audience response.

Poetry Slamming began in the United States in the Eighties and is now thriving all around the world. There are hundreds of slams run all over Britain every year and Radio 4 have ensured a top quality line-up by limiting entry to slammers who have already won a bone-fide slam event.

“Poetry Slamming is an exciting contemporary approach to poetry and I’m sure the Radio 4 audience will find the enthusiasm and high octane energy that surround these events infectious,” says Caroline Raphael, Radio 4 Commissing Editor.

“Competition will be fierce, the rhymes will come thick and fast and the very best contemporary slam and performance talent from the current scene will be highlighted. Uniquely amongst broadcasters Radio 4 transmits a poetry programme or a programme about poetry and poets on average every week and the Slam Contest is a spirited addition to the coverage.”

Radio 4 will transmit the two semi-finals of its contest which are to be held in London and Manchester in August. It will also transmit the final which will take place at the Bristol Poetry Festival in September.

All three events will be hosted by Dreadlock Alien a well known figure on the slam and performance circuit who was Birmingham’s Poet Laureate in 2006.

Nine heats have already been held around the country to get the best 18 contestants for the semi-finals and the best six for the final.

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