Bristol poet, Birdspeed, has won the 2019 Hammer & Tongue UK National Poetry Slam Final. The prestigious title was awarded after a series of audience voted rounds at the Royal Albert Hall. Birdspeed was representing Bristol at the national final after triumphing in the regional rounds.
Hammer & Tongue have been running the National Poetry Slam Final for six years, and claim it to be widely recognised as the premier event in the UK poetry slam calendar with the highest profile slam title.
Birdspeed says of her triumph: “Winning the slam for me means… being giving more opportunities to showcase my unique style and championing diverse narratives within the African Diaspora.
“I am exceptionally grateful to the Hammer & Tongue organisation, especially for the chance to showcase my work at The Royal Albert Hall, in a space which many marginalised people may feel excluded from.”
She continues: “Hammer & Tongue seeks to break down an elitist culture in poetry and showcase the potential of spoken word. I am still very emotional from winning. I am dedicated to making my artistry exceptional and I am so thankful my audience saw, heard and felt that.
“Bristol has been very supportive. I did my first poetry performance in Bristol so I felt so proud to be able to bring the title back. Bristol embraced me as a poet first and in return I promised to do some serious damage (in a loving way) to the poetry scene in their honour.
“I am still growing as a poet and I look forward to being more disruptive and unapologetically me.”
Birdspeed is the latest in a succession of Bristol poets to win the high profile award. She joins Vanessa Kisuule and Solomon OB as recent winners and further enhances the city’s reputation as a home of dynamic and ground-breaking poets and poetry activity.