Leading slam poet performs at Massey
Just as stand-up comedy found mainstream acceptance, it is now the turn of poetry.
That’s according to touring UK slam poet Dominic Berry, who iappeared at Massey University’s lunchtime Arts on Wednesday programme last week.
From Manchester, and this year’s Glastonbury Poet in Residence, Berry has been on a month-long tour of New Zealand performing in Auckland with champion UK slam poet Sara Hirsch , at Wellington’s Poetry In Motion and with the Faultline group in Christchurch.
He stopped off in Palmerston North en-route to Hawke’s Bay before flying to Australia.
He found out while on tour he had been named the Saboteur Awards Best Spoken Artist 2017.
Poetry was now getting plenty of coverage in mainstream media, Berry said.
‘‘It’s a good time to be a poet in England - there’s now a lot of poetry on TV.’’
Among the programmes featuring verse are Channel 42s My Daughter The Teenage Nudist and the BBC’s Rhyme Rocket.
A full time slam poet for the past 10 years, Berry said poets used to go cap in hand and beg for audiences, but things had changed.
‘‘We used to be apologetic about it, but thanks to poets like Kate Tempest, Sara Hirsch and John Cooper Clarke, people, especially young people, now appreciate poetry as a worthwhile and accessible artform.’’
‘‘Young people, now appreciate poetry as a worthwhile and accessible artform.’’ Dominic Berry
The 37-year-old said poetry had enabled him to tour the world ‘‘being serious and silly’’, and credits his adoptive Manchester’s growing status as an arts hub for providing him with a performance platform.
‘‘When I was at school, poetry was all people who died forever ago. I didn’t know it was some- thing you could make a living at.
‘‘In Manchester, I saw people get up and perform and I thought ‘that’s what I want to do’.’’
His first published book in six years, No Tigers, was released in February this year, but demand was such he’d run out of copies to sell here.
‘‘It’s troubling times for a lot of people in the world, and poetry is where they can find comfort and inspiration and it empowers people to find their voice.’’
Poetry was ‘‘about getting the best words you can use, in the best possible order, to make the best possible connection’’, he said.
On tour, UK slam poet Dominic Berry is this year’s Glastonbury Poet in Residence.