Last night I was lucky enough to perform at the Poetry Rivals Event as one of the fifty finalists for the 2011 competition. The final was sponsored by the publishing company Bonacia ltd, and first prize was a chance to publish a collection of poetry (or walk away with a cheque for £1,000!)
The standard of finalists was so high, with professional poets standing side by side with first time writers. The themes and styles of poetry were so diverse and accomplished, and the judges - Suli Breaks, Helen Mort, Mixy and Tim Clare - had a tough job on their hands.
In the end, Vanessa Kisuule's beautiful poem scooped the grand prize. Her work focused on her relationship with her Nigerian grandmother and the language barrier between them which meant that Vanessa would never really know her nan. The poem was insightful, rhythmic, emotionally-charged and superbly performed and she thoroughly deserved the prize money.
Dan Simpson scoped third prize with his poem about mathematics and love. Dan's poem was funny and charming, and packed with puns and excellent word-play. He performed it perfectly and really engaged with the audience.
My poem, Self Service Seduction, came second, which was so amazing, given the high standard of entries. I was one of only two people with a comedy poem, which is always a little nerve-racking, but I'm so grateful that the judges liked it! I was so nervous performing my piece on stage, and I didn't expect to be placed at all. Every single poem read on the night was worthy of a prize, but I was really pleased with my performance. (Although, the mirror at the back of the room gave me a less than welcome view of my own face-pulling skills!) I feel like I'm becoming increasingly more comfortable performing in front of audiences, which can only be a good thing.
The poem is below, let me know what you think!
Self Service Seduction
Press her touch screen,
touch her dials,
a velvet-voiced vixen,
with artificial feminine wiles.
You've got your favourite,
the one by the door,
you've tried to keep away,
but always go back for more.
She's a dogmatic dominatrix,
in tones of harsh insistence,
she'll mock your prowess,
'please wait for assistance.'
If you go too fast, she gets quite cross,
she's impatient if you're slow,
and if you treat her badly,
the whole shop has to know.
She's a temperamental nightmare,
a machine that's hell-conceived,
and her obsession with the clubcard
has to be seen to be believed!
You've tried to live without her,
but real assistants aren't as great,
and there's something weirdly satisfying
in the way she makes you wait.
She's a supermarket sauce-pot,
she makes you feel inferior,
But the way she beeps so teasingly
makes you long for her interior.
You want to put something unexpected
into her bagging area.
It's self-service seduction,
a plain and simple fact,
And since you were caught with your tongue in her coin slot,
you won't be invited back.