Poetry Rivals 2013/14 Winner: Paradise

It’s been a long time since I wrote my poem Paradise, and nearly a year since I won first place in the Poetry Rivals competition. The poem was inspired by the No More Page 3 campaign, placing judgement on society, the newspaper, and not on the models.

Thanks to all those involved with Poetry Rivals, including host and mentor Mark Grist, judges Hollie McNish, Mixy and Tim Clare. A massive thanks to those at Poetry Rivals HQ who have had to put up with my emails, drawing out the filming with ideas of parks, fish and chips shops and newsagents. There was a moment where my local newsagents from my childhood may have been involved, but to my relief, they stopped responding (more on that when I write my one woman show!) Thanks also then go to the Roundhouse for being able to film the poem there. Lastly, a big thanks to Guy Larsen for his fantastic filming.

If you liked this poem, please buy a copy of my poetry pamphlet from Nasty Little Press. There are other poems too, and you might like them. It’s signed, limited edition and just £2. Themes touch on topics such as multiculturalism, education, love, the pursuit of happiness and having a digitally native childhood. Or else come to a gig; my next performance is at the Festival of Ideas as part of Open Generation on Saturday 11th April. I’ll bring some books along so you don’t have to pay P&P.

Poetry Rivals

It has now been officially announced that I am the winner the 16-25 category for the 2013 entries for Poetry Rivals. I first entered four years ago, when my hair was much shorter! I performed a piece which is now part of my 15-20 minute poem ‘Circles’, which was inspired by my university dissertation text by Sarah Kane.

I came back and I wanted to win (I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive etc…). The prize is amazing – a performance poetry package with Mark Grist, a professional recording of a poem and a paid performance at a UK festival. I have worked hard to get to a position where I stood a chance in winning, and I would have been disappointed if I didn’t. I attend slams but hadn’t felt that same desire to win before. I guess all the nerves and adrenaline paid off!

I hung out in Peterborough for quite an unnecessarily long time and so I had time to rehearse my poem, though I already knew it well. I know my age and experience may have given me an advantage within this category (I’ve just turned 25), but this certainly didn’t make me complacent. I was really impressed by the quality of the poetry from everyone else who competed. The standard was much higher than when I had been before (in my opinion) and I’m sure that if those in attendance keep writing and getting out there, that they will win another year.

Carmina Masoliver

Again, I thank the judges Hollie McNish, Mixy and Tim Clare. It was great to watch them all perform. Hollie, I hadn’t seen since I started out seven years ago, and I connected to the way she made the personal political, and entwined her poetry with story telling. Having not ever been placed first with my poetry performances, it was about time!

You can read my winning poem ‘Paradise’ here, which I wrote as part of the ‘No More Page Three’ campaign.



It’s Who You Know

I recently came back from Peterborough where I had been to the Poetry Rivals Slam.  It was a sunny day, which always helps, and overall it was fun, despite my stressing about getting the last train because I’d been given a late slot.  I was given a nice pack off stuff, including this certificate, where sadly my name was spelt wrong.

So, the Under 18s section was first, though it seemed I was one of the few people from the adult’s section that was there as the room disappeared afterwards.  It ranged from the cute to more impressive stuff.  I chatted to one of their grandad’s who seemed nice, and pretty cool, cool being he had an earring and rode motorbikes haha!

I went to eat at Ask where I had booked a table beforehand in case… being Saturday… it was busy.  It wasn’t.  The staff there were really friendly and I talked to them about what I was doing in Peterborough.  I managed to eat a whole garlic pizza bread and mushroom & chicken risotto, despite my paranoia that there may have been some cheese in it.

My favourite poets from Under 18s slam were Eddy Telford (the grandson) and Nicole Edwards.  Though I didn’t see them all because I went to eat dinner and wanted to make sure I was back for the adult slam.  My favourites in that were Thommie Gillow (who spoke to me and was lovely), Dorothy Beaumont (one of the older contestants who did a beautiful poem to her husband with great dancing imagery), Rochelle Logan-Rogers (who did a great performance of a piece written for Love Music Hate Racism) and Richard Castle (who though rather mumbley and mono-tone, I think I caught some really strong lines and ideas in his poems).  The winner was Stephen Watt, and I was surprised as I couldn’t remember his poem but asked my mum to read it from the book in London and it refreshed my memory and I thought was quite a nice idea with the rubix cube image.  I’m not sure I would have decided on him myself but it was really hard to judge, as the judges said, and I don’t know who I’d have picked.

It was disappointing not winning but I didn’t exactly expect to, and after my reading (which went okay, with one annoying slip up, and maybe a bit rushed and static) I didn’t feel I was going to at all.  I don’t feel ready anyway.  One of the things I want to concentrate on, after my dissertation hand-in in about 3 weeks, is poems for possible publication.

I get annoyed at not being accepted into magazines but I really need to do it constantly.  It’s just hard keeping track of all the dates of stuff, so I have a document trying to organise it but I’m still getting rejected loads, so how can I progress to a chapbook or proper collection?

I’m currently listening to the Gipsy Kings but there’s a few more things I was going to write before this blog post.  They’re not really relevent to poetry, but they are about my life, which some people might find more interesting than repetitive notes on poetry gigs!  I also didn’t record this performance so, no video.

Anyway, I’ve been busy dancing and attempting at drinking in moderation (going well since the cart-wheel incident) as well as doing my dissertation and creative writing work.  I’m also going to be UEA London Correspondent to the Feminist Society next year!  In relation to that, when I went out on Tuesday night someone pinched my bum, and then I later got talking to a guy who said he was gay.  These are things we’ve been talking about in the discussion group (it’s soon to be a society)… the idea that some men think it is acceptable to violate a woman in ways such as pinching bums (though we’ve been talking about more “cat-calling” in the street situations) and also things like The Game when it comes to relationships… pretending to be gay being one of these tactics.  The guy in question here called me “stunning” and then said “if I wasn’t gay…” and that I had even managed to “attract a gay guy”.  I don’t want to be cynical, he was very sweet and seemed to think I genuinely deserved to have a nice boyfriend… but the point I’m making is that because of these “games” it means women have to be wary to trust others, and also… if I am attractive… so what?  Why should I be defined on my physical appearance?  I can’t complain, because if that was the case, I’m clearly not defined by what I look like. I’m judged far more for being slightly unhinged, intense and too honest for my own good, hence coming across *shock horror* desperate.  Which, I’m not.  It takes a lot for me to like a guy but I usually end up ruining things when i actually do give a shit because I come across too keen.  It’s funny.  Anyway, these things are interesting to think about.

Which brings me to my last point.  I knew half the judges on the panel tonight.  But they thought Mr. Watt’s poetry was better, so he won.  We’re always being told “it’s who you know” but this proves… it’s not who you know.  Unless those particular people secretly hate me.

*Yawn* I’m ready for bed!