Last Monday I found out that auditions were being held for my University’s UniSlam team the next day. I’d heard very little about UniSlam but did some research and learned it was an annual performance poetry convention/competition, and 16 British unis took part last year. It seemed like a fantastic opportunity, so I worked into the night to finish a poem I’d been working on – As Though – so that along with Night Out I would have the necessary two poems required to audition with.
The next day, I remember it was precisely as I stepped into the building where the auditions were being held that my brain decided to pose the question:
What if your poetry is in fact terrible and everyone who’s ever read it has just been nice about it because they’re too embarrassed to tell you it is fact the biggest pile of shite they have ever set eyes on? 🙂
Luckily I managed to bat away that fear pretty quickly. One thing keeping me calm was my lack of expectations. I was just giving it a go, and I knew there’d be no harm done if I didn’t get in. I think the lack of pressure I put on myself really helped with my performance – I didn’t feel too nervous and I actually ended up enjoying it.
That night I got a message saying I had made the team, and I was over the moon.
However, my initial elation was pretty swiftly replaced by crippling doubt. My main concern was how inexperienced I was – the audition was the first time I’d performed my poetry to a proper audience, and suddenly I was going to be competing in a national poetry slam in just under two month’s time. I was also worried because I only had two performance poems – the ones that I’d auditioned with – and I feared that I wouldn’t be able to write enough new ones in time, and that even if I did, they wouldn’t be good enough.
Since then I’ve had a few meetings with the rest of the team, and that’s helped quell my fears a little. They’re all super friendly and supportive, and I know that if I’m struggling with performing or writing I can go to them for help. The five of us have made plans to meet twice a week to rehearse after the Christmas break, and in the mean time we’re attending as many poetry nights as possible, and I’m writing as many poems as I can. Although I’m still a little nervous, I’m really excited to be jumping head first into the world of performance poetry, and I couldn’t be doing it with a nicer group of people.