Slam Champion

I knew this year’s Wenlock Poetry Festival was going to be a bit special ever since the e-mail asking me if I fancied opening for Michael Rosen. But it just gets better. Because I wanted to publicise my new book Writing for Blockheads, I’d entered the poetry slam (despite saying in said book that I wouldn’t be doing any more slams). Also, I have a recent poem about Hank and Lucinda Williams which I wanted to perform, and that was the ideal setting. I decided to do it first, so that it got its airing even if i was knocked out in the first round. I wasn’t knocked out. There were only eight of us, so we each got two goes (unbelievably civilised for a slam, which are usually ruthless eliminators, often of serious talent). And then I was in the final – with two other guys aged around 60 – and then I’d won. Utterly unexpected, so all the more fun for that. And tomorrow, there’s Michael Rosen and me, and 200 of his fans.