The only Northlander in the New Zealand Poetry Slam competition has cut through the competition to take out the title.
Vincent Nathan, a barber in Kamo, could not find opportunities to put his poetry on stage in Northland.
But when he saw the NZ Poetry Slam competition advertised in Auckland he was interested in seeing how he would fare.
"I heard about it about a week ago and thought I'd give it a whirl," he said.
Vincent has been writing and performing his poetry to family and friends for three years, after seeing the unique blend of spoken-word poetry and rap on YouTube performed by slam poetry collective Def Jam Poetry.
He has a love for performing and a background in freestyle rap and said when he gave slam poetry a go he knew he was in his element.
"I write about human issues and global issues - issues that a lot of people don't want to know about," he said.
He wants to inspire people and motivate them through his poetry.
His winning poem, Queen, took him about two months to write.
Vincent said the competition had been nerve-wracking.
"I was the only one from Northland and I didn't expect to win.
"My stomach was in constant knots," he said.
Winning this competition means he will be travelling to Wellington in November for the chance to qualify to represent New Zealand at a transtasman slam held in Australia.
The success Vincent is now finding is a long way from his past challenges with drug addiction and homelessness.
Vincent will next perform on the opening night of the Festival of Light and Art at Quarry Arts Centre on Thursday, September 20, at 7.30pm.