First Citizens National Poetry Slam finalists will command the stage at the Naparima Bowl in San Fernando on 9 October at 7pm.
The final round of the highly popular spoken word championship will be a joint celebration of 10 years of the Slam and 60 years of the Naparima Bowl, one of the country’s historical treasures, purpose built for the arts, and a much revered landmark of the city of San Fernando.
President of Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Paula Mae Weekes, will join the adjudication panel as a guest judge in this grand finale of the biggest spoken word competition in the Caribbean. Her Excellency will be joined by adjudicators, Omari Ashby, Teresa White, Kevin Jared Hosein, and Head Judge – elisha bartels. The highly anticipated spoken word competition will celebrate its 10 years of Slam alongside the 60th anniversary of the Naparima Bowl, one of San Fernando’s distinguished landmarks.
In this anniversary year and with the 2022 Slam theme, “A Season of Change”, Slam enthusiasts can look forward to the lyrical stand-off between poets vying to dethrone the 2021 defending champion, Derron Sandy. Who does that will take home the grand prize of $50,000. Second and third place winners receive $20,000 and $10,000 respectively from title sponsor First Citizens. Only one poet has ever managed to retain the title of champion over two consecutive years.
Jean Claude Cournand, CEO of the Bocas Lit Fest, believes change can be positive, “From NAPA with a live audience of 1,200 people in 2019, the Slam was nationally televised during the pandemic, reaching thousands of new audiences. This year’s move south to the Naparima Bowl again breaks ground, taking the Slam to more new audiences. We are pushing the boundaries of where and how the Slam is held in order to reach as many people as possible. That’s where poetry belongs.”
The 2022 championship promises to have a few surprises, and a sold-out crowd is anticipated. Doors open at 6.30 pm. Tickets cost $200 via the Bocas Lit Fest website, at Paper Based Bookshop at The Hotel Normandie in St. Ann’s, Slam committee members, and at the Naparima Bowl’s box office from 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday.
2022 FINALISTS Abdul Majeed Abdal Karim Alexandra Stewart Askala George Javaughn Forde Joel Philip Kevin Soyer Michael Logie Ronaldo Mohammed Shimiah Lewis Zakiya Gill