Poetry, the Enlightening Art

19 May

The 23rd Swindon Poetry Slam did even more than what it said on the tin.

Co-organiser, Clive Oseman, has written elsewhere a detailed review of the poets’ performances. But I believe more has to be said.

This was not about competition but all about celebration. Of course we followed the established Slam knockout process and by common agreement, Jemima Hughes emerged as the rightful trophy holder. On another night, the way these things go, the winner could have been any of at least half a dozen other contestants such was the national-level standard of the poets.

David John Phillips, Jemima Hughes, and Rusty Goat

And that didn’t just happen. You don’t attract nearly 70 people to an obscure but fantastic venue on a Saturday night in Swindon by just a facebook post. The reason the night was such a success was because the hard work and dedication to people and poetry that had been put in over the preceding few years.

Two monthly poetry Open Mics have been reeling them in from not only Swindon but the Regional Poetry slams and mics. Clive Oseman and Nick Lovell have scoured the scene and travelled many disrupted train miles to take part and talent-spot poets.

This has resulted in some cracking nights at Oooh Beehive where regional talent has graced that wedge-shaped pub’s stage to loud applause and respectful appreciation. Meanwhile, Scot Cowley aka Rusty Goat has been establishing a more subtle appreciation of heartfelt poetry, first down at Darkroom Espresso and now at Baristocats Cafe.

All three of the aforementioned organisers are wordsmiths and poets and performers in their own rights but go that extra many miles to initiate, organise and sustain opportunities for other other people. They give so much to the Poetry Scene. At every event, newcomers and more experienced writers alike are given ample chances to share their thoughts, feelings and creativity through the medium of poetry. In what can sadly today, be a disconnected and isolating world, through creative poetry events human beings can reach out and connect with each other.

No wonder, Saturday 18 May 2019, was such an outstanding Swindon Spring Festival night and a superb example of the enlightening art of poetry.

Not wonder – sheer hard work and dedication to the nurturing of fellow wordsmiths. Thank you Scott, Clive and Nick.

Words by Tony Hillier, Swindon Community Poet.

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