Yesterday at @OneHoeStreet Forest Poets held their second Poetry Competition prize giving. The competition theme was “Where I’m From”. And it was a success. Paul and Barry arrived early to set things up: they had the help of two lovely WF employees. After setting out the chairs for 10 people – they didn’t think it would be that popular- they went over to Tesco’s and bought wine for 30!
The competition’s judge @GrahamClifford arrived early. They were expecting a much older man – sort of Walter de la Mare, but no: Graham is a young looking head of a secondary school in Walthamstow. It’s a new job and his hair still has the colour he was born with. King Street Junior immediately sprang to mind.
Slowly, but surely people came, and chairs had to be put out and still they came. This was going to be a success!
The wine (red and white), along with crisps were set out, at a good distance from the main event – next to the loos. The collection box, £2 a glass – a bargain since the glasses kindly provided by the London Borough of Waltham Forest were huge – no doubt designed for Council meetings. But before anyone could uncork the Malbec and Aussie Red the programme started.
There were around 50 people in the audience as Paul introduced Graham. He writes a lot of poetry and he read from a wide selection. (Note: he has at least three published books of poems – if you’re an unpublished poet that hurts.) Graham was the warm up act.
Barry then introduced @kitch_official. Barry and Paul first came across Kitch in January at an opening event of the Borough of Culture. They were blown away by his rap poetry so they had to have him at the event. He did not disappoint; despite an bad sound system his virtuosity shone thro’.
And then onto the prize giving. Barry and Paul alternated introducing the prize winners and commended poets and Graham handed out the certificates. The poets read their entries. It was quite a range from bus rides thro’ Waltham Forest, houses poets grew up in, to bats.
There were local young poets, local poets and main prize winners along with commended poems. After all that prize giving and poetry reading it was time for a break and the wine went…so Barry scampered across to the local Tesco’s to buy more!
Paul had produced a lovely book of the winning and other poems which were given out at the break after the prize winners had been announced.
After the break poets featured in the book came up and read their work and after that there was an open mic. By that time most of the wine had gone.
The evening ended as people renewed acquaintances or struck up new friendships and Paul and Barry went across to the Bell to sober up.