Sunday 27 September 2015

Review by Jodie Hannis of Commonword’s “Superheroes of Slam - Leicester Heat”

                                             Photos provided by Katy Pitcher

Commonword’s Superheroes of Slam 2015 - Leicester Heat was held on 17th September at Attenborough Arts Centre in collaboration with Dare to Diva, and due to a crippling inability to withstand tension for any significant amount of time, I’m going to tell you now that the winner was Jenny Hibberd. It’s difficult to describe her with words that mere mortals use as she is a poet best experienced in motion. You find yourself skip-hop-tripping over your own feet as you follow her into a dizzying world of cosmic chaos and calm. She writes like a master word slinger and speaks like a mad rhyme flinger... it must be loud inside Jenny’s head. And it’s plain to see that she’s anxious to share, even if it’s just a glimpse, the exuberance with which she moves through this bright world. It’s impossible not to be infected by it.

And so Jenny represents the best of Leicester’s poetry scene. In all, 19 competitors shared their words and the experience was happily embraced by all as one of exceptionally high standard. There’s always something jarring about being snapped out of a literary reverie to blink blindly at the scorecards rudely pushing themselves into the occasion.  As compere Rob Gee tells us, “the point isn’t the point, the point is the poetry.” But a winner there must be and Jenny is she, who goes on to compete in the final held in Manchester on 23rd October. £250 can afford the luxury of many pencils to many poets.

And there are so many poets that deserve those pencils. Honourable mentions go to many, including the five others that went through to the second round and performed for us again. Tony LeTigre is all smooth rhythm, charm and extended metaphors as he tells us about his love of shoes and toast, but he’s anything but pedestrian. Andrew Lee’s words seem to vibrate throughout his whole body and it’s difficult to look away from him as he constantly looks like he’s teetering on the edge of something significant. Shruti Chauhan scores incredibly highly and I’m captured by her startlingly self-deprecating deconstruction of herself. Toby Campion represents Leicester strongly with two regionally-patriotic pieces and we’re all roused to agree with him fiercely in the typically British way of clapping and nodding our heads vigorously. I suspect people would follow him into battle if the occasion called for it. Leanne Moden catches me a little off guard with a barrage of descriptive euphemisms for her “hairy meat pocket” and I curse myself retrospectively for not scribbling them all down. I particularly love her second poem which describes an incredibly important moment for her without stating the obvious. It reminds me that we’re privileged to have poets share secret parts of themselves with us so freely and that every now and again, they should keep something back for themselves.

Details of future Superheroes of Slam 2015 events can be found here:
Jenny’s winning poem can be seen here:

About the reviewer
Jodie Hannis chases after words at every opportunity. If you have some, chances are, she’d like to hear them. She also occasionally runs away from ones she puts out into the world herself:

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