Attached to the restaurant, Politics and Prose bookstore

Washington, DC − Busboys and Poets

If its name and tribal statement weren’t enough to grab a poet by the shoulders and steer her inside, the incredible schedule of poetry events surely would be. Across its 6 locations, Busboys and Poets offers up an open mic every weeknight, making it easy to work in a bonus stop on my quest during a spring break trip with my kids. If you aspire to hosting an open mic, Drew Law, host at Brookland the night I went, is one to study. He was hilarious, damn quick-paced, and always positive. His guidelines were simple enough: 5 minutes, … Read More...

Nat'l Poetry Month and Found Poetry Review logo

Preparing for National Poetry Month…or not

A few weeks ago, I signed up for April’s daily poem challenge led by Found Poetry Review. It hasn’t even started yet and I gotta say I’m wildly impressed with their energy, and that of my fellow scouts (as they've dubbed us). In the last week or so, the scoutmasters kicked off a ton of activity in a private Facebook group—inviting us to introduce ourselves, posting tricked out Google calendars and other useful files and links (including the logo above), creating holding tanks for threaded discussions about each challenge. And the … Read More...

Nashville, Tennessee – Night of Free Speech

It’s been a while since I hit what must be the most gothic open mic in Nashville (if not the known universe)—long enough that they’ve changed venues and are no longer in the basement of a vintage clothing boutique. A basement with a no-shit throne and a side theater where they showed B movies and documentaries and other oddities. I can't speak to their current location, but I hope it's at least half as unusual. Hosted by DNR Publishing and the only open mic I’ve been to where they actually take a collective smoke break, it was a fantastic … Read More...

green mill

Chicago’s Uptown Poetry Slam

The slam and open mic at The Green Mill wasn’t the first out-of-town open mic I hit, but it did happen before I officially declared my goal to get to one in every state. It was a crazy-lucky coincidence. One of those things that comes together easy... I was on work travel, did a quick online search, and discovered that the man who started the whole slam thing back in the ‘80s—Slampapi Marc Kelly Smith—still hosts one every Sunday night. And I happened to have Sunday night free. My colleague was game, so after a fabulous … Read More...

Stars Theater and Arts Center

Fuquay-Varina, NC — Third Thursday Open Mic

The longest-running open mic in the Triangle surely owes its place in the record books both to the devotion of regulars and to the writerly triumvirate that runs it: three women with diverse writing styles, preternatural organizational skills, and a level of sass to which I aspire. This week, I was invited—along with a fellow poet and former cohost of my own erstwhile open mic—to give a 30-minute reading/event. The event part being that we were to talk a bit, at least vaguely instructively, about spoken word and performance … Read More...

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