Youth poets slammin’ Out Loud

Ross Kendall

Young poets from across the Northern Rivers have competed in the Murwillumbah-based Poets Out Loud poetry slam and are now waiting for you, the public, to decide the People’s Choice Award.

‘A poetry slam is usually a live, spoken-word competition – but this year, because of Covid we decided to take it online,’ organiser Sarah Temporal said.

All up 19 young poets from the ages of 12 to 18-years-old entered the competition, sometimes in teams, so the total number of entries was 14.

‘The poets live in Nimbin, Lismore, Byron and Murwillumbah,’ she said.

Many of the young poets sent in their own videos of themselves performing their work, but it was also possible thanks to the support of the Tweed River Council, for entrants to receive professional support to get their works captured digitally.

Pancho Symes in the Poets Out Loud slam. photo supplied.

‘It’s basically a spoken word competition, which is very high energy, the poets really got into it,’ Sarah said.

The entries went live on November 1, and judges including Dr Sally Green from Griffith University and local writer and journalist Sam Turnbull, have picked their prize winners.

But all the entries are online and voting for the People’s Choice Award, that means you get to have your say, is open till the end of this month, November 30. (

The judges gave honours to Pancho Symes (18 yrs), Georgia Smith (16) and Jasmine Logan (13).

The Poets Out Loud youth program involves slam-poerty workshopsfor secondary schools and youth services.

‘Working in teams, participants create their own slam poem with the guidance of our inspiring poet-mentors. All for free.’ Sarah said.

People and schools are welcome to register for the 2021 program.

‘Poets Out Loud is a collective of poets, writers and spoken-word artists from the Tweed region, founded on the belief that poetry is for everyone,’ Sarah said. ‘We provide a safe and inclusive platform for writers to share and develop their work’.

Sarah has been a performance poet and poetry educator for close to two decades.

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