One of the UK’s most popular poetry slams, Hammer and Tongue is a competition that forges new champions and promotes the best in touring Spoken Word. The event showcases a range of talent throughout a knockout competition that culminates in a final held a the Royal Albert Hall. As well as Brighton, February will see this lively and diverse poetry event travel to Cambridge, Hackney, Bristol, Oxford and Southampton.
The winner of this year’s final was Usaama Minhas. His winning poem, ‘See Something, Say Something’, observes the public service announcements that ask us to report suspicious behaviour, and criticizes the negative influence this might have on our social psyche. Lucy Noble, artistic director at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “It’s brilliant to see an artist as original, challenging and talented as Usaama take this year’s title.”
‘Hammer & Tongue has reinvented the medium for the hip-hop generation’ The Guardian.
The poetry slam originated as a way of bringing poetry to the masses, and giving poets a platform to recite fresh material. Poetry slams often select a panel of judges from the audience, or rely on the general support of the audience for the competition’s outcome. A panel of five judges give a poem a score from one to ten. The highest and the lowest of these are dropped, and the middle three kept as their final score.
The 2006 winner of Hammer and Tongue was critically acclaimed Elvis McGonagall:
“….funny, angry and tightly written….McGonagall combines anger, polish and carefully crafted verse in a way which recalls John Cooper Clarke….If the word ‘poetry’ is putting you off, get over it” –The Scotsman
“….righteous ire, directed at very deserving targets….McGonagall’s verses are shot through with a moral umbrage and rhetorical power” – Brian Logan, The Guardian
Since the slam was invented to democratize elitist, academic poetics, this event will no doubt be a lively, noisy affair, giving the audience just as much voice as those on stage. It will be a baptism of fire for anyone yet to experience a spoken word event, and promises to keep spectators on their toes with a variety of acts.
Komedia, 44-47 Gardner Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UN
Tickets £6 – available on the door only – 14+ year only
Up and coming dates for Hammer and Tongue at Komedia also include: 1st March, 5th April, 3rd May.