I was one of the judges for the 2009 John Tripp Award in Cardiff last week. It proved to be a hugely enjoyable event for me and my fellow judges Deborah Kay Davies and Wiard Sterk. The venue was packed out, the inclusive and supportive audience ranged from in their teens to in their seventies, the atmosphere was right there. Who says there's no audience for poetry?
This year, the award went to Dafydd Wyn, whose charismatic presence, superb delivery and great poetry won our vote. But it was a tough call, with some terrific performances on offer – infused with wit, passion and, it should be said, staggering reserves of personal and professional courage. Spoken word is really putting yourself out there, on the line. Everyone did themselves real credit. Congratulations to them all.
Among the finalists, we spotted some hugely impressive younger talent, particularly in our runner-up (and the audience choice winner), Liam Johnson, whose machine-gun delivery and verbal pyrotechnics left us stunned, appreciative and me pondering how on earth he could remember it all. Maybe it's just my age.
Read about the event here.