A Night at the Dead Poets Slam

Category: Reading

“Marilyn Monroe? What?” The judges exclaimed, shocked. They were taken by surprise, as was the audience, that an actor chose Marilyn as a dead poet to perform as - it wasn't expected. 

I will stop now to explain myself: during Book Week Scotland, I went to the Dead Poets Slam, which was held in Edinburgh. I didn't know what it was going to be like; all I knew that it was about people dressing up as dead poets and performing their work.

We all went into the hall, took a seat and waited for the show to start. It was very dark, cold and there was rock music playing in the background. My first impression was that this event wasn't for me, and I wouldn't enjoy myself. But I told myself to never read a book by its cover, and as time went on, the hall filled with a diverse group of people and I did, in fact, enjoy myself.

There were eight performers, four judges and a timekeeper. The timekeeper was there to make sure that all the acts kept to their allotted time and if they went over their two-minute performance he’d blow a whistle for the act to stop.

The first round was good, and I quickly chose my favourite: W.B Yeats, due to the act, accent and the costume. The performer had obviously put a huge amount of effort into their work. 

The first round came to a close and the judges decided on who went through to round two. Two were dropped; six remained.

Round two got more interesting as you saw that some acts were really trying to get to the final round. The passion, aggression and quality of work put into a two-minute act was amazing! 

The panel then cut the acts down to three: Norman McCaig, Siegfried Sasson and W.B Yeats. Of course I was pleased that Yeats got through, but it was a tough decision for the judges because they were all fantastic. 

All three acts gave information on their chosen poet, which was interesting because I hadn't heard of the finalists up until now. '2 fags to write a poem, yet 1 fag for a wee one' was Norman McCaig's famous words. Because it only took him a short time to write his work, two cigarettes were all he needed. 

Finally it was time for the judges to make their decision. The audience was excited to find out who the winner was and began performing a drum roll with their feet…

'The winner is...' the host said, 'W.B. Yeats!' I was thrilled that he won - and even got book tokens worth £30 as a prize. 

I'm glad I went to dead poets slam. I found out more about other poets, their work and it was a great night! 

Tyler Norrie

Tyler is one of Scottish Book Trust’s Young Scot bloggers for Book Week Scotland

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