23/05/2012 11:21 BST | Updated 23/07/2012 10:12 BST

James Bunting Performs 'Conkers'

James Bunting co-runs the Bristol faction of poetry slam promoters Hammer & Tongue.

"I started performing poetry when I was 18 after seeing Andrea Gibson, Katie Wirsing and Buddy Wakefield at a chance night in Bristol. I was blown away; I had no idea poetry could be like that and I wanted to try it.

"The best thing about slamming is the vibrancy. There are people who've been doing it 20 years and there are first timers, but they're all as good as each other. You get people from all walks of life and that's exciting to see; the scene never goes stagnant.

"For slam poetry in the UK to improve, it needs to open up. There are several amazing organisations running great slams, but until they unite there are always going to be these "factions". I think at the moment there are 4 National champions. One day I'd like to see just one."

Poetry heroes:

Buddy Wakefield and Dylan Thomas for getting me into poetry. Other slammers I admire include Jonny Fluffypunk, Sally Jenkinson, Vanessa Kissule, Julian Ramsey-Wade, Jack Dean. I think most poets today owe something to Kate Tempest, Polarbear and Dizraeli; they are the pinnacle of the scene.

Regular spots:

In London; Bang said the Gun, Chill Pill and Come Rhyme with Me. In Bristol; Hammer & Tongue.

Upcoming gigs:

Brainchild festival, 29th June - 1st July