Our series of In the Spotlight blog posts introduces someone who’s involved in Shake the Dust.

Rosy Carrick is our Consulting Slam Producer in the South East.

How did you become a poet?
I began to write poetry when I was 6 or 7. It was part of an English lesson; we were told a bit about poetry and then sent off to write some of our own. It made me feel really powerful – as a child you don’t have much control over your life, and this feeling of being able to shape words into the meaning and order I wanted, and to create something like music, or secret code, was incredible. I still have that same feeling in my chest now when I think about it!

What’s unique about poetry in your city?
I live in Brighton, which is a really creative place to be part of. The great thing about poetry here is the number of very different things happening. Aside from the events I run (Hammer and Tongue), which are very focussed on performance poetry and slam, there is also a brilliant regular experimental poetry event, Hi Zero, purely open mic sessions at the Brighton Poetry Society events, plenty of readings and events organized by New Writing South, and a constant flow of interesting hybrid nights put on by different people, incorporating music, poetry, theatre and even nude life drawing! There’s also a long-running monthly hiphop event in Brighton, called Slip Jam:B. The poetry and rap scene are really supportive of each other, which leads to really popular (and super fun!) joint events such as the annual “Poets vs. MCs” competition.

What makes a good slam poem?
I think a good slam poem is maybe one which is not specifically written to be “a slam poem”, by which I mean one which is an excellent poem in its own right, and not one which seems to have been designed specifically to score favour with judges. My advice is to write about something you are interested in or feel passionate about, and think about how you can express that in an engaging way but don’t let the fear of the slam competition shape your poetry. Of course you need to bear in mind the context for which you’re writing, but that context is there to show off your poetry, not to dictate its direction.

Visit Rosy Carrick’s website for more information.