AN 18-year-old poet has reached the final of a national “poetry slam” contest for the second year running.

Tommy Sissons, of Brading Road, Brighton, beat ten other performers at a regional semi-final held at Komedia in Gardner Street, Brighton. He will now perform at the Royal Albert Hall in the National Slam Final on Saturday.

The event is run by Hammer and Tongue, the UK’s biggest poetry slam organiser, and sees rappers, poets and spoken word performers pitted against each other.

‘Amazing’ Mr Sissons said: “I’m chuffed – I didn’t expect to be able to come back and do it again. Hammer and Tongue has really pushed me.

“Before I went to them I knew I wanted to write but I wasn’t aware of all the possibilities that spoken word could open up.”

Last year’s final was held at Wilton’s Music Hall in Tower Hamlets, London, rather than the Royal Albert Hall so Mr Sissons has not yet seen the inside of the famous venue. He said: “It’s amazing. I think it’s great that spoken word has been able to break into such a renowned venue - I always thought of it as quite an underground thing.”

Steve Larkin, former international slam champion and Hammer and Tongue founder, said: “Tommy’s a poet who’s comfortable on a rap stage as well.

“He’s remarkably good – his spoken word is all about struggling through in a single parent family. He has a social conscience and is highly entertaining and brilliantly musical.”

Brighton Hammer and Tongue presents a poetry slam on the first Thursday of every month where pre-prepared pieces are rated by randomly selected judges.

Mr Larkin said: “It’s giving the power of judgement back to the performer’s peers.

“The competition element isn’t taken that seriously; it’s more a poetry night with some extra shenanigans thrown in.”

Other projects Mr Sissons is involved in include a collection of poetry in collaboration with photographer Lauren Joy Kennett and giving poetry workshops for young people at educational centres such as Portslade Aldridge Community Academy and DV8 Training in London.

For details of poetry slam events see

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