Sherman Shares is a monthly publication
of Sherman College.

  Sherman Students, Regional Poets Compete at Spine Tingling Poetry Slam
by Karen Brower Rhodes, Director of Public Relations

The hottest regional poets and wannbes – including two Sherman College students – competed at Sherman’s first-ever Spine Tingling Poetry Slam held at Sandella’s Café in downtown Spartanburg on Saturday evening, February 26. Kimberly Simms of Wits End Poetry and Greenville (SC) Slammaster hosted the event.

Admission to the event was just $10, and all attendees received a commemorative t-shirt and a food coupon good for a tasty Sandella’s wrap. Door prizes were also awarded and included $25 gift certificates for Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic Health Center, Sherman college t-shirts, koozies and much more. Approximately 65 slam attendees, many of them first-timers, came to the event, which raised more than $2,400. Proceeds will benefit the college’s Chiropractic Student Government and will also help establish an International Student Emergency Fund.


Eight poets came from as far away as Shelby, NC, Lexington, SC, and Columbia, SC, to participate in the event, and the youngest competitor (and a first-time slammer), Michelle Lahaie, was just 16 years old. The competition featured veteran slammers like Jus Caus (Kevin Lewis) of Greenville, SC, and DaMinista (Tavis Brunson) of Columbia, and other poets who had never slammed before, including two Sherman students, Dee Dee Brown and Aaron Fisher.

A poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry as seen on television and in coffee houses across the nation. A slam puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, which encourages poets to focus on what they are saying and how they are saying it. Poets perform original constructions of up to three-minutes, without the use of props, costumes or musical instruments.

Performing poets are judged by designated members of the audience, and the numerical scores the poets receive are cumulatively tallied through three rounds of competition to reveal the winners. Sherman student/poet Dee Dee Brown made it through to the second round.

“When I first heard about the poetry slam, I didn’t realize it was a competition with prizes,” Brown said. “I had written poetry before, jotting things down in my journal, and friends told me I should let other people hear my work. I had a great time. The poets were very nice, nobody was standoffish, and everyone was very encouraging since I was a first-time competitor.”

The top three poets were awarded cash prizes. First-place slammer DaMinista received $200, second-place poet Jus Caus received $100, and third-place winner Scotty T. of Spartanburg received $50.

Director of Development and organizer of the slam Anje Hawkins said the evening was a great success. “Several of the poets came up afterwards and thanked us for hosting a well-done event, stating that there simply are not enough outlets for poets to perform,” she said. “The prize money was also much appreciated and needed, since several poets – like Jus Caus – said this is the only thing they do. Jus Caus, for example, has performed in 11 states in the past 14 days.”

For more information, on the 2005 Spine Tingling Poetry Slam, go to