Last night we ran the first ever Ironbridge Festival poetry slam. That’s great in itself, but this slam was held in the most beautiful venue ever. A yurt. A veritable palace among yurts. Just look at this!

And what a night of poetry we had! Last night was one of the strongest line-ups we’ve ever had at one of our slams. In each and every round there were poets who sneaked through by one point or missed out by two, while the quality of each and every piece kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Splendid stuff.

Our finalists all left – as our finalists always do – with works by some of our era’s literary giants. Works we know they’ll treasure forever. Or until their first visit to the loal charity shop, whichever comes sooner. Congratulations to our winner, Nick Degg – who secured himself a paid gig at next year’s festival and got to go home with Kevin Keegan – to runners-up Jason Smith and Mike Took, and to all of the poets who took part.

Above all, our thanks to the audience members who came up at the end of the night to say how much they’d enjoyed the evening. Especially the folk who told us they’d never been to a poetry event before, and would never have thought they’d enjoy one, but had absolutely loved it. Who wanted to know when the next slam would be so they could bring their friends. That’s what all this is about really, isn’t it? Bringing new audiences to poetry.

For us, after a wonderful evening of poetry in a beautiful venue, that really is the icing on the cake. That’s why we love what we do. And why we keep on doing it. Even in a yurt.