The final Hammer & Tongue slam of the season always promises to be a good one – and this one was no exception!

Guided through the night by hostess Fay Roberts’ warm and encouraging manner, we’re led through a practice of the appropriate oohs, ohs and gasps to greet a poet’s performance (but not laughter, “because practising laughter is creepy”) and treated to a beautiful poem of Roberts’ own.

The first feature act of the night welcomes the wonderful Daisy T-G back to Cambridge from her new base in that London. Daisy’s performances are always electric and her poetry darts and drifts through the mind of the poet exploring travel, life, love and growing up. Her first poem ‘Slam Bambi’ details the slam poet and the feelings that come with it; the second a long winding journey straight from the heart. Daisy finished with a new poem that was longer than her usual pieces but was beautiful and detailed. If you haven’t seen her perform before then you are missing out!

The Hammer & Tongue stage is an amazing platform for performers and many talented poets have started in the slam. The winner of that evening’s competition goes through to the Regional Final (the Cambridge one tends to be held in September), and the winner (and runner-up) of the Regional Final goes through to the National Final. The winner of the National Final gets crowned H&T National Slam Champion! The season’s final slam hosted 9 talented poets and was started strong by last H&T winner Callum Church.

First up was Charlie Jennifer with a meta-poet poem full of clever rhymes and a clever twist. Lauren Church followed with a poem all about silly reasons love is unrequited, never trust someone who sleeps with their socks on! Third was Caroline Teague, a poet from London whose confidence on stage clearly shows. Her poem about the noisiness of life was full of vivid imagery and passion.

Steven Oldham returned to the slam with his poem ‘The Alchemist’, drawing inspiration from the book of the same name. Steven is gaining more and more confidence on stage with every performance and his poem had a constantly changing tone and tempo that was nice to hear. Quentin Langley-Coleman took to the stage to give us good advice when falling in love. Don’t fall in love… lean into it. He added some good sound effects and hand gestures that brought the audience in rather than distracting them. Peter Stockton had a very fast start but relaxed into an amusing and clever poem. Rebecca Daniels, a first time slammer took to the stage with an emotional and fast paced poem about eating disorders and skeletons in the closest. It was a raw and brave poem journeying through recovery.

Last but not least was the night’s winner Luke Sayer. He took the slam title with a poem about modern standards and equality titled ‘The Modern Gentleman’.

The final act of the night was the wonderful Sally Jenkinson, whose voice is calming and lyrical. She is a poet and event organiser whose debut collection of poems Sweat-borne Secrets was released recently through Burning Eye Books. Her poetry was both bold and sensuous building beautiful imagery and told tales of growing up and being from up North. Listening to Sally Jenkinson was like catching up with an old friend whilst drinking the perfect cup of tea – a lovely experience.

Words by Nikki Marrone.