A 'POETRY 'slam' contest has been organised as part of this year's Wirral Festival of Firsts.

Taking place at West Kirby Arts Centre on May 12, Slam and Deliver is part of what promises to be a packed weekend of poetry events designed 'to engage all poets, writers and lovers of words' from May 10-12.

Kemal Houghton, doyen of the Wirral poetry scene said: "Even those who usually say no to poetry will find something to enjoy in this very unique poetry festival line-up."

Slam and Deliver is hosted by Anna Saunders, chief executive of Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Ciarán Hodgers, a distinguished and prizewinning 'slammer' in his own right.

There are places for 12 'slammers' to battle it out for the accolade of the audience.

Before that, the entry deadline for the Festival of First's annual competition closes on March 22.

Four prizes will be awarded including a special Wirral prize for a poet living or working in Wirral.

Entry is only £4 per poem or £10 for three poems either online at www.wirralpoetryfestival.org.uk or by post.

Prize giving will take place during the Big Poetry Variety Show at Birkenhead Town Hall on May 11, hosted by Curtis Watt, with the fabulous Luminelles providing musical interludes and some wonderful and funny poetry performers.

Those who like a day out and a bit of fresh air with their poetry, will enjoy a poetry picnic. There will be a tour of Leasowe Lighthouse and chance to write poems on March 31 and take a poetic trip on the Mersey Ferries on April 28.

Booking is recommended through the website.

Poems written at these events will be showcased at a reading on Sunday May 12.

The Wirral Poetry Festival will be opened on May 10 by iconic Merseybeat poet Roger McGough & Little Machine, with show promising vintage, classic and surprising poems set to music.

The following day, Birkenhead Town Hall hosts a poetry party; an afternoon of special poetry readings form poets from all corners of the UK and Ireland.

The Poetry Festival will be preceded by two poetry picnics, with participants invited to tour Leasowe Lighthouse and write poetry with Kemal Houghton and take a trip on the Mersey Ferry and write poetry with Paul Harris.

Hoylake Street Festival will take place from July 5-7, featuring all kinds of attractions and some amazing street theatre.

Appealing for Globe readers to sign up, Judy continued: "We always need people to help us plan and deliver the festival.

"If you are interested in helping us with publicity, social media, volunteer coordination, event planning and management, or any other way, do get in touch by email: secretary@wirralfestivaloffirsts.org.uk or check our website www.wirralfestivaloffirsts.org.uk"

The Festival was established in 2011 by John Gorman and the late Stirling Dutton.

Judy Ugonna said: "Its aim was to showcase local talent across a wide range of arts disciplines, to bring national / international performers and artists to the Wirral and to inspire new work in the arts.

"Each year, since then, we have managed – somehow - to bring a packed programme of events to the Wirral community!

"We are really excited to be bringing the first ever Poetry Festival to Birkenhead next May and we look forward to working with the Culture Team at Wirral Council to support Wirral’s year as Borough of Culture!”