As someone with ADHD, it can often feel like what I’m doing now is the only thing that matters. If I did something ten years ago and I didn’t manage to leverage it into something bigger and better, was it even important? When you’re prone to distraction and impatience, it becomes all too easy to do your past achievements a disservice by mentally tossing them out into the graveyard of unfinished projects.

But now that I’m trying to take this whole poetry thing to the next level, it’s imperative that I document things. Not just for my confidence, but so I can continue to get more and better opportunities. Evidenceability, they call it. Because no matter how much you can impress someone who’s engaged with your work, at some point you’re also going to have to win over people who haven’t. It’s a good lesson for any creative, I think.

So without further ado – what are some things I’ve actually done since I first got into this performance poetry thing?

2012: Entered my first poetry slam, hosted by Edinburgh University English LitSoc. Me and a friend both dared each other to enter, just to make sure neither of us could chicken out. And I won! This kicked off a year of collaborative writing and discovering the joys of open mics.

2013: This was my first taste of a really high-energy poetry event. As a winner of a previous slam, I was qualified to enter the Scottish National Slam which took place in Glasgow! I didn’t get past the first round, but I was awed by the incredible display of talent from all across the country.

2014: The year that The Loud Poets really kicked off. It was so exciting to be there as part of a new poetry collective. For me they really brought the Edinburgh poetry scene to life, and even after moving to Newcastle I still perform with them regularly.

My most memorable gigs with them would have to be the launch event, and being part of their fringe show at the lovely Scottish Storytelling Centre.

2015: I’d had poems published in a few places already (Far Off Places, The Inkwell, Cadavarine), but this was the year that I started working on my own pamphlet in collaboration with artist Elena Purlyte who provided amazing art. It launched the following year, and you can still get a digital copy if you join the Spooky Poet Club!


2016: 2016 was a big year, because I qualified to join Edinburgh’s team to compete UniSlam 2016 alongside Douglas Garry, Rachel Rankin, Catherine Wilson and Jyothis Padmanabhan. The final took place in Leeds, and we won!

As a result, we also qualified to take part in the 2016 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, which took place in Austin, Texas. With a bit of fundraising we were able to go, which was an incredible, horizon-expanding experience.

2017: Graduation made this a busy year, but our team was also invited to compete in a poetry slam hosted by Hammer & Tongue at the Royal Albert Hall. We won the group division 😁

This was also the year I finished my MA in Creative Arts Practice at Newcastle, my favourite part of which was getting to host a night of pop-up poetry and music at Seven Stories National Centre for Children’s Books as part of the Late Shows.

Five poets stand celebrating and holding up a trophy in front of a screen that says 'UniSlam: The UK National University Poetry Slam Summit 2016'.
A grid-based map used for playing Dungeons and Dragons, showing a secret underground warehouse filled with crates and passages.

2018: A quiet year for poetry, but also the year I got into D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games. Those have been an amazing vein of creativity for me and community for me, persisting even at times when my confidence was at a low ebb. Expect a collection about D&D and chosen family someday!

2019-2021: In this period, I mainly worked as a copywriter, developing my practical writing and visual design skills. There might not have been as much to brag about, but I’m still proud of how I developed, and a few of the poems I wrote during this time are still very close to my heart.

2022: The year I really threw myself back into poetry! This was the year I discovered the Newcastle poetry scene, discovering Born Lippy and Out of Your Head and meeting so many of the talented poets I count as close friends today.

This was also the year I started Spooky Poem Month, which culminated in an amazing Halloween gig with my old friends The Loud Poets!

2023: And we’re all caught up to the year I started this website! Writing workshops, Lindisfarne Festival, Spooky Poem Month and loads more.

Thank you for joining me on this little retrospective! It might be self-indulgent, but no one’s gonna do it for you.

Honestly, I wish I’d started taking photos and writing stuff up sooner. But there’s no time like the present!


Lewis Brown (a young white man with curly hair and round glasses, wearing a black cardigan and a colorful shirt with roses and skulls) is speaking into a microphone with the words BBC Radio Newcastle written on it