Poetry Rivals 2016

Taking poetry from the page to the stage!

Poetry Rivals 2014 Slam Champion is Crowned!

On Saturday 2nd May, Poetry Rivals held its 6th finalists’ slam, this year at the John Clare Theatre in Peterborough. This much-anticipated event was packed full of poets, their family and friends, all eagerly awaiting their performance and to find out the winner. 67 finalists performed their work to a live audience and guest panel of judges: Ben Mellor, Mixy, Fay Roberts and host, Mark Grist, after a drinks reception where finalists could mingle with their peers.


During 2014 poets entered their work and only the top 100 poets, as chosen by spoken word artist (and YouTube sensation!) Mark Grist, were selected for publication. The 100 finalists each received 5 copies of ‘Poetry Rivals The Finalists 2014’ and an invite to attend the slam, where the winner would be chosen.


Each poet did an outstanding job, bringing their words to life and after their applause died down, Mark Grist explained why their poem had been chosen. The judges faced a tough decision, but their choice was unanimous and Poetry Rivals is delighted to announce the 2014 Slam Champion is Jim Clarkson from Crewe, who has won a £2,000 publishing package with Spiderwize.


Ben Mellor said: ‘It was very hard to pick a winner but in the end we chose Jim because all three of us had marked it out as a poem that was full of surprise, vivid imagery and conveyed a world that was simultaneously unsettling and beguiling - repelling you even as it drew you in. Coupled with a clear, confident yet understated delivery, Jim's poem really stood up and made us take notice.’


Fay Roberts also commented: ‘For me he stood out, straight away, for his use of language - for his confidence in using unusual imagery and juxtaposition to place the listener/ reader straight into the moment being described. That all-too-brief, in media res moment was somehow sparse, yet lush at the same time. It was like coming in at the beginning of a noirish novel, or film shot in grainy, grey and sepia tones - I really wanted to know what happened next!’


The judges also awarded Tom Kwei from Sutton Coldfield, Poppy Kleiser from Wisbech and Robert Awosusi from Grays, a commendation for their work, which entitles them to free entry into Poetry Rivals 2015, which opens in September.


Poetry Rivals would like to thank all the poets who took part and huge congratulations to Jim Clarkson! Jim said: ‘I was looking forward to hearing the winner announced and then was utterly gobsmacked to hear my name read out... I was thrilled obviously, but also very surprised - I thought there were so many brilliant poets in the room that I was lucky to be sat in there!’


Poetry Rivals has had another great year for fresh, original and inspiring poetry from all walks of life. If you’d like to find out more and read Jim Clarkson’s winning words, please click here.