Poets to compete in annual slam at Ribeyes of Clinton

By Chase Jordan - cjordan@civitasmedia.com

As a lover of poetry, Valawaugn McCain is looking forward to another year of providing a show for poets to express themselves through emotions and words. But this time, they’re competing for the top spot.

The second year anniversary of Spoken Word “Poetry With A Twist” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Ribeyes Steak House, 100 Westover Road, Clinton. During the event, participants will compete for $300 during the poetry slam, a competition consisting of rounds.

McCain created the first poetry night to expose local residents to the experience of spoken words and slams.

“Never would I have thought that it would have went this far,” she said. “Some things get started and it kinds of burns out after awhile. Luckily for me, people really enjoy it and they look forward to coming out. I tell them every show, as long as they keep coming, I’ll keep having it. It’s something positive in the community.”

The first moment was an open mic event and this year, she wanted to do something different.She said it’s been enjoyed during gatherings held every other month.

“I’m grateful to God for using someone like me to bring something like this, that I love, to my community,” McCain said. “I am thankful to Ribeyes for providing the venue and food.”

For the competition, a poet has to perform an original poem within three minutes and a 10 second grace period. Next, it’s judged using scores from 0 to 10. Judges will be randomly selected from the audience.

“We want to make it fair,” she said. “We’re picking people who don’t know the poets and people attending a slam for the first time.”

The slam was created by Chicago native and construction, Mark Smith, in the 1980s. Competitions are now held throughout the United States.

“That’s something that I’m excited about seeing because people get to see how a slam function works,” McCain said about bringing it to Sampson County.

McCain, who was once a closet poet, said poetry helped her through a difficult period in her life and going through a divorce.

“Even though my pain prompted me to see poetry for the first time just to get out of the house, it has now become my joy with sometimes over 50 people in attendance,” she said. “We tell our stories for all to hear and heal from them as well.”

She mentioned that “Poetry With A Twist” is an alternative to going to a club in other areas. McCain said the event is becoming more popular with others from out of state, who stop by after learning about the event on Facebook.

“They’re probably at another poetry event and they come all the way to Clinton to attend the show,” McCain said.

During the open mic events, McCain said she enjoys watching people show other talents such as singing.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “Giving that outlet to people that wouldn’t normally have it.”

Attendees are being asked to provide a $5 donation and to patronize the Ribeyes restaurant. For more information, contact McCain at 910-214-0648 or visit the event’s Facebook page at https://goo.gl/T4wXRo


By Chase Jordan