It’s National Poetry Month, so it only makes sense for one of the poets of the Parisian Phoenix family to weigh in with a blog post.
I’m not positive, but I get the feeling that most non-poets envision poetry events as a bunch of uppity snobs reciting John Keats and Robert Frost. Or, perhaps they picture a group of middle-aged Mom’s reciting badly rhymed poems that are all set to the “roses are red, violets are blue” scheme. That couldn’t be further from reality. Though many attendees do appreciate the classics, the diversity you find would surprise a lot of people. I have even heard some events described as, ”like attending a rock concert.”
I have been to several poetry month events recently. The Lehigh Valley poetry open mic at Icehouse in Bethlehem, PA was a lot of fun and practically a party, (though I may have had some part in that, since I brought a cake and squawker party favors.) The next night I went to a similar reading, virtually on zoom. Both events focused on poetry, but if you’ve ever been involved in this kind of community, you know that readings usually yield to general socializing once everyone has finished their set. The beautiful thing about this is the eclectic mix of people, which can span from Septuagenarians to teens with a very broad range of personalities and life experiences. We are poets, after all. We thrive on diversity of style and thought. Poetry can give you firsthand insight into things that you will never experience and that’s one of the many reasons poetry is important.
The trouble is that it can be tricky to find the right community or the right events to suit your tastes. Every open mic has its own flavor. Many are one-time events or have switched around between virtual and in-person during Covid which can make listing them or finding them difficult. To help you navigate, I’ll outline a few events and some places on the web/ social media where you can find others that might interest you.
Stick Figure Poetry Open Mic is in-person at the Mary Meuser Memorial Library (hosted by me!) on the third Thursday of every month 7:00-8:00pm. It’s small and informal. A good place to come relax and hang out.
We list various events in our Facebook group
Lehigh Valley Poetry hosts a number of events both in-person and virtual throughout the year. Don’t miss my personal favorite The Lehigh Valley Poetry Virtual Salon on the first Monday of every month on Zoom. The event begins with a quick, half-hour mini-workshop from 8-8:30pm and Open mic begins afterwards until roughly 9:30. Find information on their website.
You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram
Join their Facebook group, Lehigh Valley Poets to find listings of events
Black & Blue at 683 Walnut St. Easton, PA has an open mic night Every Wednesday 7:00-10:00. This tends toward a younger crowd and is heavy on music, but they are a very welcoming group of people and they do frequently get poetry on the mic. Plus, you can get great food and drinks there!
Spofest has multiple events held on zoom, which it also livestreams on Facebook. Their featured reader events are on the first and third Tuesday of the month which includes a book drawing, Q&A and Open Mic to follow. They also do a more interactive writing prompt/ rough draft event on the last Tuesday of the month. That one has a $10.00 Amazon gift card drawing for those who use the prompts or opt to brave the rough draft option, which requires you to listen to a prompt and make up a story on the spot.
Find information on Twitter @SpoFest or on their Facebook page.
Join their Facebook group for various virtual event listings.
Moonstone Arts Center has various featured reader events virtually and live in the Philadelphia area. Keep up to date at: https://moonstoneartscenter.org/
I could probably keep the list going indefinitely, but I’ll behave. Though not before I give you a few other options in the form of a short list of online journals and podcasts.
Rye Whisky Review
Stick Figure Poetry Quarterly
Stone Poetry Journal