As if he didn’t do enough round these parts on the live literature scene, what with hosting the recent Experimental Words for Manchester Science Festival, writing and performing his own work, and compèring the Eagle’s fortnightly Guy Garvey-patronised spoken word night Evidently for, like, ever, the unstoppable Kieren King also runs, ably assisted by “driving force” Ella Gainsborough, poetry slam Word War – and this December sees its fourth grand final.
So far in Word War Four, there have been ten heats, pitting eight poets against each other, and making a total of eighty performers – with ten making it as far as the big night in December, when they will be playing for the £200 jackpot and the coveted Word War 3MT Trophy!
The night will be split into two rounds, with the poets drawing numbers from a hat and performing in that order, and the order reversed in the second round. Poets get three minutes maximum to speak their words in each round (with penalties for going over time) and they will be judged for both written content and quality of performance, with the highest scorer taking the prize – or facing sudden death in the event of a tie.
Finalists for Word War Four are, in alphabetical order, Live Barnes, Dominic Berry, Christopher Bowles, Hannah Davies, Rosie Fleeschman, Elise Hadgraft, Bob Horton, Jim Higo, Stephen Quinlan and Zach Slater. At this stage it’s all to play for, although as the slam motto states: the points are not the point, the poetry is the point.
[This article was updated on 10 November]