Poetry Slam goes on national TV

Ronald Forde
(Photo courtesy 
6ixthStudios) -
Ronald Forde (Photo courtesy 6ixthStudios) -

FIVE months ago the pandemic struck and the 2020 First Citizens National Poetry Slam (FCNPS) came to a grinding halt. Now it is set to resume on August 23 on TV6.

Working under current health protocols, title sponsor First Citizens and Slam producers The Bocas Lit Fest have partnered with TV6 to broadcast the remaining stages of this year’s FCNPS on television and via livestream at www.tv6tnt.com.

A media release said viewers can now look forward to the first semi-final on August, 23 followed by the second on August 30, both at 7.30 pm. Together, the semi-final events will feature near 40 competitors who topped the January auditions to secure their spot in the second round.

Reiterating their support for the Slam, First Citizens’ senior manager, communications and public relations Gillian Benjamin said, “Our commitment to the First Citizens National Poetry Slam has never waned over our eight years of partnership with the Bocas Lit Fest. Rather, we have increased our investment over the years. In 2020, our support remained steadfast even with the challenges presented by the covid19 pandemic. We believe in providing the young people of our nation with a platform for the expression of poetic craftsmanship, social consciousness and entertainment.”

Josana Richmond -

The Slam creative team has retained the 2020 FCNPS theme Slamageddon, which derives from the narrative of the American film Armageddon, where the “underdogs” are the planet’s unlikely saviours from impending destruction by an asteroid. According to the team, “The decision to keep it was a no-brainer as it lands more powerfully now than it did when it was originally conceived pre-pandemic. It speaks to exactly where we find ourselves, amidst competing global crises of failing leadership, economic and environmental collapse, breakdown in human relations and now covid19! And more than ever, we may need to make and embrace space for art in saving the world.”

Bocas Lit Fest founder Marina Salandy-Brown said, “The writing is on the wall: we need to find the opportunities in this crisis. 2020 continues to be a lesson in resourcefulness, teaching us that there is always a way to do what needs to be done.” She added, “And what an opportunity we’ve found through the ongoing support of our sponsors First Citizens, and our television partner TV6, to present the Slam to thousands more people, in viewing audiences across the country, region and diaspora!”

Twelve competitors will advance to the finals, where they will challenge 2019 champion Alexandra Stewart. The grand finale will be broadcast on TV6 and livestreamed from their website on September 27. Judging this second round of competition are prize-winning poet Professor Emeritus Funso Aiyejina (head judge), award-winning author Lisa Allen-Agostini, calypsonian and social worker Roderick “Chuck” Gordon, and performance poet Paula Obe. For further info visit the National Poetry Slam Facebook page, or follow @nationalpoetryslamtt on Instagram and Twitter.


"Poetry Slam goes on national TV"

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