Why So Serious?

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Farrago was pretty fun on Thursday night. The features were as hot as usual; was especially impressed by the debuts from Paul Cree and Bridget Minamore. There’s this thing also about Farrago — the wild divrsity of its performers, both in content and identity. Paul and Bridget were followed by a couple of aged performance veterans, and the white males like me who dominate poetry as much as they do everything else were kept at bay. That’s reflected in the slam as much as the features, and I think Farrago does it better than any other night; all credit to John Paul O’Neil for that one, though I guess that once these things are set up they just keep on running.

Credit too to him for what he did to the Love Slam. Partly ‘cos he was knackered, partly ‘cos there were too many performers, he just refused to take it seriously, and so too did most of the slammers, including me (whose poem was so filthily unromantic that despite coming third in the initial scores was “toaded” for the only nil points of the night — fantastic!) I love Slam, it’s a great way of bringing people into poetry, and it’s still going good work for getting poets and audiences excited — but it’s really important not to take it seriously. I made the mistake of doing that after I discovered in my first two that I was pretty good at them; getting creamed in the third (including by people I’d previously beaten) was a good lesson. It’s about celebrating and enjoying the poetry, never about winning. Sometimes the best way of doing that is just to take the piss out of the whole institution. JP was told his Love Slam ruined the statistical integrity of poetry slams. Bravo! sez I.

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