National Poetry Month was first established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and has since been celebrated every April across the United States. Denver’s growing poetry and spoken word scene boasts enough verbose venues to, at the very least, fill the month. Here are some not-to-miss events and poets to catch for Poetry Month. Most are free, so leave your wallet at home and just bring your attentiveness and prepare to be captivated by some great local performing artists and poets.
Price: Free open poetry readings/$5 poetry slam
Hours: Open poetry readings Fri – 8 p.m.; poetry slam Sun – 8 p.m.
The Mercury Cafe is known throughout Denver as a wonderful place for independent artists of all types to gather and share their work. In fact, the Mercury Cafe is home to the Denver Slam Poetry Champions. Two nights a week, however, it transforms into a poetry haven for hard-rhyming, diction-driven poetry divas.
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Crossroads Theater at Five Points
Price: $5 donation
Hours: Last Mon every month – 8:30 p.m.
The Crossroads Theater at Five Points is a wonderful facility proud to offer a slam poetry night once a month. The venue seats as many as 100 guests and hosts and fosters acts by independent performing artists. On the last Monday of every month Slam Nuba — a competitive poetry event — takes the stage, sponsored by the Pan African Arts Society and certified by Poetry Slam International.
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Sam Taylor’s Bar-B-Q
Time: First and third Sat every month – 9 p.m.
This well-known and favorite barbecue stop is also a great place to check out some spoken-word poetry. On the first and third Saturday of every month, Sam Taylor’s welcomes poets, aspiring artists and anyone with something to say. This popular event is open to everyone. There is no need to sign up, but be ready for the audience to let you know how you did.
Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center and Cafe
Every Saturday at 9:30 P.M.
Brother Jeff’s Cultural Center was founded in 1994 in the historic Five Points District. The center is devoted to fostering community and growth through programming opportunities. It boasts an award-winning open mic poetry set that brings huge literary names in the poetry scene. Check Brother Jeff’s calendar or open mic night every Saturday.
Hooked on Colfax Bookstore and Cafe
Hours: Mon – 8 p.m.
Hooked on Colfax is a fantastic coffee shop and internet cafe with a great independent feel. It has monthly art shows, and constantly feature new, local talent. Every Monday at 8 p.m., Hooked on Colfax welcomes poets of all kinds to its free open mic night. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and listen in, or bring some of your own works to share.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.