By Jessica Osborne
At its first event two years ago York’s very own Say Owt Slam had to turn away over forty people after unexpectedly selling out. Last Saturday people were still scrambling for tickets at the last minute only to be disappointed.
Run by local poets Henry Raby and Stu Freestone who described the slam as “an embracing of the [poetry] scene” the slams held at the Basement seem to always be filled with enthusiastic poetry fans. The slam’s hosts go out of their way to advertise other poetry events around York such as open mics or readings and also set up workshops with their guest poets for those hoping to get inspired, all in an effort to embrace the scene.
Each slam brings old hands and new comers alike to the stage, allowing all writers the perfect platform for building confidence in their writing and even just making their writing known. The most recent slam was no exception to the rule; the room was jam packed with bodies cheering and clicking along to the rhythmic beats of the local poets, booing the harsher judges, and ultimately celebrating spoken word.
In recent years we’ve seen poetry sales falling, with sales of the novel rising. With some publishers (such as Salt) dropping single authored collections, why do poetry slams and readings seem to flourish? Has poetry really been usurped by the novel? Or has it simply moved from page to stage, bringing with it a new generation of poetry fans?
Tickets for Saw Owt Slam #12 (12th Nov) can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1302007043182788/ (Facebook Event for Say Owt Slam #12) Be sure to book early before they sell out!