Poetry Rivals 2016

Taking poetry from the page to the stage!

A F Harrold's Top Tips

Date Posted: 09-09-2014 11:52:32

A.F. Harrold is an English poet (1975 - present). He writes and performs for adults and children, in cabaret and in schools, in bars and in basements, in fields and indoors. He was Glastonbury Festival Website's Poet-In-Residence in 2008, and Poet-In-Residence at Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2010. He won the Cheltenham All Stars Slam Championship in 2007 and has had his work on BBC Radio 4, Radio 3 and BBC7. He is active in schools work, running workshops and slams and doing performances at ungodly hours of the morning, and has published several collections of poetry. He is the owner of many books, a handful of hats, a few good ideas and one beard. 


A F Harrold was a Poetry Rivals judge in 2009 and 2010.


1. Know Your Poem

This doesn’t necessarily mean learn it off by heart, but practice it lots and lots so that it flows and feels right and you aren’t glued to the text.


2. Know Your Time 

If you’re in a slam with a time limit there is absolutely no excuse for going over time!


3. Enjoy it.


4. Judging

All judges are different – I like confidence, charisma, comedy – even a serious poem has room for all this.


And remember, some poems are for performing, some are for reading on the page, some are for thinking about deeply, some are immediately engaging – choose the right one for your audience and for your event.


You can find out more about A F Harrold and his work at his webites:





Keep an eye out for A F Harrold's next book for kids: The Imaginary … out October 2014 and his next book for adults: Lies My Mother Never Told Me … out November 2014.

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