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Poetic rundown of New York City

So, back in the day when I was a pretty young thang, I had a thing for poetry. I couldn’t get enough of it. Writing it, reciting it, reading, whatever. Even though I’ve sense moved on to other creative outlets, I still love a good open mic or poetry slam. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of poetry events that this great city has to offer.
Monday-Louder Arts poetry slam at Bar 13. Every Monday evening performance poets gather at this Union Square bar to engage in a good old fashion poetry slam? Don’t know what a poetry slam is? Allow me to tell you then, but really, have you been living under a rock? Or in New Jersey perhaps? A poetry slam is a game, a competition of sorts where scores are decided on randomly by judges in the audiences. No props, no gimmicks, no music, just words.
The sign-up for the slam and open mic starts at 7pm, while the show generally starts around 7:30pm. After a bunch of months the top scorers get to all compete against one another for a chance to be on the team that represents the organization in the national slam competition OR for a fellowship. Pretty cool stuff huh? I thought you’d agree. Oh yeah, admission is 5 bucks. But there’s 2-4-1 drinks for most of the evening.
Tuesday-Urban Poetry Slam at The Bowery Poetry Club. Pretty much the same deal at this venue which is basically devoted to the art of poetry-hence the name. The Slam starts at 7pm with a free talk given by the featured poet of the evening at 6:30pm. $7 bucks gets you in, plus there’s a full bar(I think) and a café for all your bar food needs.
Wednesday-Nuyorican Wednesday night slam open mic. This slam preludes the really big Nuyorican Friday night slam(more about that late though) and is basically an open mic with the first 20 participants getting to grace the stage. At the end of this event, hosted by Jive Poetic, the winner is eligible to perform in the Friday night poetry slam. The festivities start at 9pm and seven one dollar bills get’s you a seat-or a lovely place to stand.
Thursday- The Inspired Word at One and One. So, I’ve never been here actually. There’s an open mic plus featured guests reading. Starts at 7:30pm and $10 bucks gets you in.
Friday-Nuyorican Poets Café Friday Night Slam. Quite possibly the grand daddy of all New York City slams. Or at least, the most famous one. Housed in the tiny lower east side bar that was started by Miguel Algarin and Miguel Pinero, this places fills up with the quickness, so get there early and prepare to wait happily in line for a long time. Then pay ten dollars. Then go inside, rush to a table and buy some beers. Listen to old school hip-hop while you wait for the evening to really get going. Then, be prepared to be blown away by the slammers, featured poets, and maybe even by the open mic at the end.
Jonesin for more?
Goodbye Blue Monday- Every last Friday of the month this bar houses Stain of Poetry which features new and upcoming voices in the poetry scene.
Bluestockings Bookstore- Once a month this worker owned/volunteer run bookstore holds a women and transgender open mic. Check website for details. Start time: 7pm. $5 buck suggested donation.
The Poetry Brothel- A group of whores(their words not mine) whose product is poetry. Just like any other brothel: pick the whore of your choice, pay your fare, and then watch them make sweet love to you with their words. Pretty cool huh? Check out their website for more details.


About Niesha Davis

Niesha Davis is an internationally based writer and editor. She has written for: Sixth Tone, Women's Health, Everyday Health, Bust, Bitch, Narratively, The Awl, and other publications. Follow her travels on youtube at brown and abroad.

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