Lower Sixth student Charlie Hughes reviews World Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker's performance at the Bishop's Stortford College Festival of Literature
Lower Sixth student Charlie Hughes reviews Harry Baker's performance at the Bishop's Stortford College Festival of Literature...
The festival hosted World Poetry Slam champion Harry Baker for an evening of laughs, tears and unbridled positivity.
As Harry himself said, one of the joys of poetry slam – a form of high-energy, spoken-word poetry – is the connection it forms between performer and audience, which was not lost even through the limitations of virtual video screens.
Harry began the evening with a whistle-stop tour through his I am 10,000 collection, with highlights including the prime-number poem 59 – a fusion of his two passions, maths and poetry – and the affecting tongue-twister Paper People. Both testify to his skill as a performer and word artist who, as someone pointed out in the Q&A, remarkably never trips over his words.
Although he could neither hear nor see the audience, Harry kept participation going – he even managed to get me, a 17-year-old boy, to shout “wie viel falafel ist zu viel falafel” at my computer screen during a hilarious poem about the German language and falafel.
These were crowd-pleasers, but it was his lockdown poems that struck a particular nerve with the audience. Crying and laughing emojis filled the live comments as Harry performed When This is Over… about how we’re all looking forward to hugging our loved ones post-pandemic.
This truly was a poetry slam dunk.