Last Post From Paris

Image of the Eiffel Tower with two pigeons in the foreground

Dear DorkyMum,

Well, it is over.  The 20112 Coupe du Monde de Slam Champion is David Goudreault from Quebec.  He was simply perfect, hit all three of his poems with calm, beautiful intensity.  The audience loved him.  The rest of the poets loved him.  He is a good and true champion. Second place looked like it would go to Roberta from Brazil after she scored two 10s during her final poem, only to have Chris Tse from Canada (the guy who knocked me out of the elimination round by 0.1 point!) score THREE 10s with his last poem.  And Youness Mernissi came in fourth in the scoring, but first in his elegant skills as a writer. Continue reading

Letter from Paris

Image of a bridge in Paris at night, lit up.

Dear DorkyMum,

Paris has a way of swallowing time.  It seems like just hours ago that I arrived here on Tuesday morning, and now it is Saturday and the final round of competition in the World Cup of Slam is on for tonight.

And what a final it will be!  Roberta Estrela D’Alva from Brazil, 33 years old, six feet tall, a beautiful confident woman who shines with kindness; David Goudreault from Quebec, always smiling, sure of himself and his poetry; Chris Tse from Canada, 21, self-aware and cool in an engaging, friendly way; and Younes Mernissi from Belgium, possibly the strongest poet among us, who puts together words in the way great artists paint pictures — you see what he wants you to see.  Who will win?  Who will hold their nerve and capture the fire for three rounds? It will be very, very close.  But the quiet consensus among the rest of us is that Roberta will be difficult to beat.  She is an Amazon warrior with a heart of sunshine.

But truth is, all 16 poets in this competition deserve to be here.  64 poems have now been performed in front of eager and enthusiastic audiences, and not one has been bad.  The youngest person in the competition, 20-year old Mathias Bungaard, is the only poet to receive a perfect score of ten twice in the same round.  The oldest, 63-year old David Morgan from England, an unreconstructed anarchist from the Old School, spins stories out of the ether and leaves people breathless.  The talent is so rich, and the people are so nice — we have become a community. Continue reading

The Knock-Out Round

Image of a hand painting the word 'poetry' in bright colours on a graffiti wall.

Dear DorkyMum,

0.1. One-tenth. It takes ten of them just to make a single one. A very small number, 0.1.

Five judges. Three rounds. 15 different scores. My highest was 9.8 out of 10. I had three 9.7s.

One-tenth of a point. And that is the difference. I did not make it through the Round of Death. My new friend, Chris Tse from Canada, scored 79.8. I scored 79.7. And Roberta from Brazil — more on her in a bit — came in at 81.2. They are both in the semi-finals tonight. And I will be watching from the audience. Continue reading

Lots of Merlot and a man from Glasgow…

man on scooter in French city

Dear DorkyMum,

Well, they weren’t kidding when they called it the Coupe du Monde — The World Cup of Slam Poetry.  Now in it’s fifth year, there are competitors here from 16 countries, including Gabon, Brazil, Portugal, Russia and the Seychelles.  We are indeed a Rainbow Nation of Slammers.

The whole event is being run by a wiry man with a styled afro named Pilote.  He rides around on the narrow, hilly streets of the the 20th arrondissement on a banged-up scooter with a wrap-around roll cage, dashing from venue to venue, always smiling.  This is a big cultural event for this part of Paris — there are banners everywhere and a local elected woman politician showed up to help officially get things kicked off in an opening ceremony last night at the Place Frehel.  We drank Merlot and cheered. Continue reading