Thirroul woman Lorin Reid is waving the flag for the Illawarra's emerging slam poetry scene overseas, flying to the United States to pursue her creative dreams.
The University of Wollongong graduate has moved to New York to work in the city's booming spoken-word circle while attending youth slam events and workshops across the country.
The move was made possible by a $10,000 ArtStart grant, which is gifted to recent arts graduates waiting to establish a professional artistic career.
Reid studied creative writing at university but decided to pursue spoken word - a performance-based poetry using word play and storytelling - after a stint on exchange in 2011.
"[Spoken word] was just everywhere over here, especially in New York," she said.
"My professor [at the time] paid for our class to see this film [about] a youth poetry slam in Chicago and I just sat in the theatre in awe. After that I was lucky enough to see a show at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York and, from then on, I was hooked."
The 23-year-old set about writing her own poems before attending monthly poetry slams, including one in Wollongong, where she quickly met some fellow "slammers".
"There are some great young poets coming up in the city," she said.
"I have a crew of poets - we're called the Super Poet Crew - plus heaps of others in the community from Wollongong to Bankstown, Parramatta and Glebe. We all perform at the same events and bounce our work off each other."
Reid admits applying for the grant was the turning point, cementing her decision to devote her professional life to poetry.
"I was at a part of my life where I had to decide where to focus most of my efforts," she said.
"Most artists I know, and many of the writers from my degree, have full-time jobs now that don't involve writing their first novel.
"Applying for the grant was me saying, 'I really want to do this poetry thing for real'."
Reid is set to use the grant funds to travel within the US, attending festivals, workshops and programs, and to establish an online presence.