Poetry Rivals 2016

Taking poetry from the page to the stage!

2016 Judges


Mark Grist

Mark Grist (Host)


Mark Grist was a judge and host in 2009-2016
Mark is a poet and Educational Consultant based in Peterborough. He became Poet Laureate of Peterborough in 2008, Chief Bard of the Fens in 2009 and Edinburgh Fringe Slam Champion in 2010. Mark has recently been on two national tours, whilst also completing an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmith’s University in London.


Mark’s debut collection ‘Rogue Teacher’ is published by Burning Eye Books.


Laurie Bolger

Laurie Bolger


Judge in 2016
Laurie Bolger is a poet and presenter who style is consistently down to earth and accessible. Laurie currently hosts BANG Said the Gun, London's leading stand up poetry night and is lead facilitator for BBC 1Xtra's Words First and The Poetry Takeaway.

Her debut collection Box Rooms by Burning Eye Books was released last year, showing that poetry can be your friend.

"A tell it like it is poet, with down to earth, intelligent and hilarious charm" - Poems in Pubs

"The Poet in residence of my heart." - Phill Jupitas


Clive Birnie

Clive Birnie


Judge in 2016 & 2015
Businessman, publisher, and poet, Clive has had poetry published by Qarrtsiluni, Popshot, Message In A Bottle, Snakeskin,The Delinquent, Inky Fingers, in Inczine #5 & #6, and Verse Kraken 2. Clive was shortlisted in the Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Competition 2011 and The Bridport Prize Poetry Competition in 2013 and twice in 2014. He won the Wyvern Prize at the 2013 Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Competition.


Clive is editor and founding partner of Burning Eye Books, the leading publisher of spoken word in the UK. Visit www.burningeye.co.uk.


Morgan Walton

Morgan Walton


Judge in 2016 & 2015
Morgan Walton has been a director of Bonacia Ltd since 2010 and has been involved with Poetry Rivals since its launch in 2009. Morgan has grown up on a staple diet of poetry and is looking forward to judging Poetry Rivals for the first time this year.



Past Judges



Vanessa Kissule

Vanessa Kisuule


Poetry Rivals 2011 Slam Champion & judge in 2015
Vanessa Kisuule is a rising star of British poetry. She has won several slams including Farrago School's Out Slam Champion 2010, Poetry Rivals 2011, Next Generation Slam 2012, and SLAMbassadors 2010. She has performed at many festivals including Glastonbury, Lounge on the Farm, Secret Garden Party Wilderness and Shambala Festivals. In 2013, she was voted Best Performance Poet in Sabotage Reviews' Saboteur Awards and the inaugural South West Poetry Awards.


Vanessa's debut collection ‘Joyriding the Storm’ is published by Burning Eye Books.


Jonny Fluffypunk

Jonny Fluffypunk


Judge in 2015
Jonny Fluffypunk is an economic refugee from Stamford Hill, multiple slam winner and firm favourite at festivals, arts centres and housing benefit offices up and down the country. His first collection, The Sustainable Nihilist's Handbook, was published by Burning Eye Books and a second, Poundland Rimbaud, follows later this year. His highly-acclaimed solo no-fi stand-up spoken word theatre show ‘Man Up, Jonny Fluffypunk - One Man's Struggle with Late-Onset Responsibility' spent 2015 touring around the garden sheds, empty shops, and pop-up theatres of Britain in a blatant championing of homespun DIY culture. A new show, The First Punk In Kingshill, is on the way.


Jonny's collection ‘The Sustainable Nihilist's Handbook’ is published by Burning Eye Books.


Fay Roberts

Fay Roberts


Judge in 2014
Fay is a peripatetic percussive performance poet by night and a professional projector by day. She runs the Cambridge branch of the Hammer & Tongue slam series, and her own poetry label Allographic (which functions as a small press and a platform for performers), along with co-directing the Spoken Word section of The Free Fringe in Edinburgh and hosting the critically-acclaimed Fringe show ‘Other Voices Spoken Word Cabaret’. In 2014, she "won" the Edinburgh Fringe Anti-Slam (where the worst poem and performance with the lowest points wins a terrible prize).


Mixy

Mixy


JUDGE IN 2011, 2012-2014
Rapper turned poet, Mixy has been performing to audiences all around the UK for the last 8 years and impressing crowds with his unique blend of hip hop and spoken word. Along with 3 successful Edinburgh Fringe runs under his belt for spoken word shows, Mixy is also a battle rapper with one of the best win loss records in leading UK rap battle league ‘Don’t Flop’. He is currently taking some time out to work on his 7th recording project that he hopes to have finished by early 2015.


Tim Clare

Tim Clare


Judge in 2011, 2012 & 2013
Tim Clare is an award-winning author, stand-up poet and musician. His memoir, We Can't All Be Astronauts, won the 2009 East Anglian Book Awards, and his latest show, How To Be A Leader, won a Brighton Fringe Best Show award.


A F Harrold

A F Harrold


Judge in 2009 & 2010
A F Harrold is a multiple slam winner and top UK performance poet, regularly appearing at poetry clubs around the UK and on various radio shows. He’s also a respected published poet with several collections to his name.


Deanna Rodger

Deanna Rodger


Judge in 2009
"There's nothing worse, in my opinion, than hearing a people-pleaser poem that has no root in life. I think that the ability to transfer feelings, emotion and experience, good and bad, through words is rare and precious and is what writing to perform is about."


Helen Mort

Helen Mort


Judge in 2011
Helen Mort was born in Sheffield. She has published two pamphlets with tall-lighthouse press, 'the shape of every box' and 'a pint for the ghost' (a Poetry Book Society Choice). From 2010-11 she was the youngest ever poet in residence at The Wordsworth Trust where she published 'Lie of the Land', a sequence partly dealing with the Miners' Strike in South Yorkshire. A full collection, 'Division Street' will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2013. Helen has performed her work at Latitude, the Ledbury Festival, St Anza and in 2010 took her show 'a pint for the ghost' to the Edinburgh Fringe. Five-times winner of the Foyle Young Poets prize, she received an Eric Gregory Award in 2007. She is currently studying towards a PhD at Sheffield University.


Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett


Judge in 2010
Keith Jarrett is the Former London & UK SLAM! Championship 2009/10. As well as featuring regularly at Farrago and all over London he's represented the UK in the Poetry World Cup in Paris and reached the finals of the BBC Radio 4 Poetry SLAM! Competition.


Kemi Taiwo

Kemi Taiwo


Judge in 2010
Kemi Taiwo is a rising star of the London Poetry scene having won Farrago New Year SLAM! And featured at shows all over London.


Mark Niel

Mark Niel


Judge in 2009 & 2010
Mark Niel is a comic poet and poetry organiser who has won poetry slams all over the UK and set up and hosts Milton Keynes’ successful poetry night Tongue in Chic.


Suli Breaks

Suli Breaks


Judge in 2011
Suli Breaks, has established himself as one of the premier artist within the UK. His first official spoken word video "R.I.P" totalling 25,000 views in its first week. He has featured on BBC ONE London 8pm News and has performed at over 40 universities all over the UK. Has been featured numerous times on Sky TV on the Voxafrica channel, Sky channel 203 and Sky Community Channel.


He came 2nd in the national UK Farrago Slam Championships 2009 and has featured in numerous National publications including The Voice and Flavour magazine.