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Dayton’s Not Dead: Poetry Slam

group photo of a poetry slam event

Poetry Slam | Photo by Lincoln Schreiber

The Dayton Poetry Slam hosts open-mics and competitions that allow local poets to share their work and connect with the community. 

What is the Dayton Poetry Slam?

According to the Dayton Poetry Slam official website, it was founded in 1999 and is the longest-running poetry event in Dayton. Local poets attend the Slam to connect with other writers while gaining on-stage experience. 

Events are on the first and third Sunday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Yellow Cab Tavern. There is a $2 door charge and everyone in the community is invited to attend. 

The first event of the month highlights a guest speaker while the second is dedicated to the Slam’s competitions.

Guests sign up for competitions at the beginning of the night and judges are randomly selected from the audience. Each poet gets three minutes and twenty seconds to share their poem and the winner leaves with a $50 cash prize.  

Slammaster Lincoln “Link” Schreiber is a Wright State University (WSU) alumni and has been involved with the Slam since 2003. 

“We love building the community here in Dayton as we have been for the last twenty-two years,” Schreiber said. 

Co-Organizer Johnathon Gallienne manages the Slam’s Facebook page, helps to host shows and assists in booking features. This is his fifth year assisting Schreiber to run the Slam. Like Schreiber, Gallienne is also a WSU alumni. 

“Even if you took a poetry class and didn’t do well, slam poetry is for you. We’re not academics. We’re people who just want to express ourselves,” Gallienne said. 

Experiences from Slam members 

Latisha Ellis became a member of the Dayton Poetry Slam in 2019 after hearing about it from her professor at Sinclair. She is a published writer; her book “Raw Poetry Made from Scratch,” is available on Amazon. 

“Johnathon and Link have made this a home for me. This is the place I go to when I want to surrender to myself, regardless of if there is a packed house or three people in the crowd. I adore them. I adore the stage. I adore the love that is involved. It is a great place,” Ellis said. 

Poetry Slam | Photo by Lincoln Schreiber

Her experience serving six years at the Dayton Correctional Institution greatly impacted her life and she hopes to use her poetry to help others who have been incarcerated.

“People hate poetry the same way they hate the truth. In order to expose the world, you have to expose yourself. If I can’t expose myself, then how can I move you? If I tell the truth, then I may inspire someone else to accept their own honesty,” Ellis said. 

Brett Bartlett is a student at the University of Dayton and has been involved with the Slam for four years. Her passion for Women and Gender Studies is a common theme in her work. 

“I write poems of survival. My target audience is typically folks who have survived some sort of domestic violence or assault and those that love them so that they can figure out how to best support them,” Bartlett said. 

WSU students interested in attending the Slam are encouraged to join. The Slam is a safe space for creatives to share their work or to watch performances from local writers. 

“We give a voice to everyone. All poets are welcome. All styles are welcome. We have a very supportive crowd. We are absolutely an LGTBQ+ safe space and we have a lot of fun,” Schreiber said.

Attend the Halloween Bash on October 30, 6 p.m.–1 a.m. Learn more
Attend the Halloween Bash on October 30 Learn more