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Twelve poets, hailing from Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Canada will compete for $600 in cash prizes at BUFFALO NIAGARA INTERNATIONAL POETRY SLAM starting at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall
(622 Main St.).

Founded by spoken-word artist, author and playwright Ntare Ali Gault, the event was put on hiatus last year after he suffered two strokes, leaving him temporarily unable to speak.

Gault has since recovered, and while he won't return to performing just yet, he is hosting Western New York's largest poetry slam. His wife, poet Erika Haygood, will open the event. Then each poet will perform a three-minute original work, which will be judged by the audience. The performers include Jamaal St. John, a six-time winner of the Toronto International Poetry Slam; Tomy Bewick, founder of the Burlington Slam Project in Burlington, Ont.; and Rae Sunshine, a Syracuse-based soul and spoken-word artist.

Tickets are $15 students and seniors, $20 general, and $25 at the door. Get tickets at the box office, Walmart, Ticketmaster, Doris Records (268 East Ferry St.) and Record Theatre, or online at

— Jason Silverstein