- Title: Poetry Slam comes to Beirut
- Date: 20th October 2016
- Summary: PERFORMER RECITING ON STAGE
- Embargoed: 4th November 2016 09:22
- Keywords: poetry slam arts culture competition London English Arabic music
- Location: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- City: BEIRUT, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA00954T44ET
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Young poets polished up their rhyming skills to battle it out in a poetry slam in the Lebanese capital, taking the opportunity to wax lyrical about their day to day lives and problems.
The event bought a diverse pool of contestants to the stage, where a group of judges later chose the best 'slammer'.
The poetry competition was inspired by a similar event held at a performing arts venue called the Roundhouse in London, England.
"One of the organisers had the opportunity to come to London two years ago and she saw the Roundhouse poetry slam and she came to me and she said 'this would be amazing if we could it in Beirut', and so she said 'please can we collaborate and try and make this model exist in Beirut' and I said 'I think that is a brilliant idea'," said Sylvia Harrison, a producer at the Roundhouse who was supporting the Lebanese event.
One judge said the English and Arabic competition, dubbed Beirut Poetry Slam 2016, was the first of its kind to take place in Lebanon.
The contestants slammed about personal and social issues, from mental health problems, sexual assault and death to philosophy and wearing the hijab.
Thea Khoury, one of the 11 contestants competing on the night, said it was a chance for her to air the worries and frustrations of her daily life.
"In this country, you can't do anything and everything is building up inside you and there is no place except the piece of paper. I think it is too much to handle and the only way to vent all that is building up is this, because of all rubbish in this country," she said.
An audience member said he was blown away by a slam in Arabic.
"We just saw the first session and it was a huge surprise for me. There are very good poets speaking and actually I wish there was more in Arabic because the guy who did a slam in Arabic, it went through directly," said Roger Mokbel.
The winner and runners up were announced to cheers from the audience.
Maysan Nasser, a young Syrian poet and blogger who emerged victorious, said she did not expect to win.
''To be honest, I was not expecting to win. The people who were here today gave 200 per cent. And I was very touched every time I heard someone on stage. Because we had three days to prepare before, I have seen the progress and I was impressed with their performance on stage. So I did not expect this, I am very surprised," said the 22-year-old psychology and theatre student.
The organisers said the winner will get a chance to compete in a Poetry Slam competition at the Roundhouse next year.
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