ALCOHOL, a few moral supporters and a poem scribbled on a napkin.
These three ingredients in 2009 started Aaron Kirby's life as a poet stealing back the artform from the stale high-school poetry lessons he endured in the 1990s.
He could not have predicted that night he stood in front of a crowd of people with his hastily written poem that he was to win a competition and start a never-ending quest to say something meaningful about society.
The 30-year-old public servant and voice acting teacher is now part of a vibrant community of slam poets inspiring Canberra's nightlife.
He reads his poetry at night, usually in a pub, to a crowds happy to heckle him off stage if his verses are dull.
Once he departs, another poet takes his place and the harsh but honest world of slam poetry continues to turn.
''For me it's a way to better explain and understand the world,'' Kirby said.
In his humorous poem Manuka in Ruins, he complains Manuka is too egalitarian and should be more like Double Bay or Toorak.
''You can drive there without a permit - there are old cars there, with aftermarket spare parts, some of them are cheap, some are dirty, some were bought on finance
''Manuka, Manuka in ruins!''
■ Slam poets can be heard at TEDx Canberra, Playhouse Theatre, September 7.