This is my home poetry slam venue, and I attend every Tuesday night that I am in New York City. If this night is listed on my calendar, it’s because it looks like I’m not performing elsewhere and I will actually get to attend! I won’t be the featured poet of the night (that will be Scott Woods), but I ALWAYS perform at LEAST a poem in the open mic. Admission is $8 (unless it’s the night of a semifinal, in which case it’s $10). We’re a quirky and eccentric series, and even though we’ve featured some of the biggest names in poetry—Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, Galway Kinnell, Sage Francis, Saul Williams, and almost every National Poetry Slam champion—we remain a warm and welcoming venue for all kinds of poetic voices: political, confessional, musical, and spiritual. Here’s what a typical night is like: poets sign-up for the eight-poet open mic (if we have one that night) or the eight-poet open slam (if we have one that night) between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm. At 7:00 pm exactly, all slots are filled randomly by computer. Signing up is not a guarantee that you will be able to read. At 7:01 pm the host welcomes everyone and facilitates the eight-poet open mic. Without a break, the feature is introduced to perform a 15- to 20-minute set. After a break (during which five audience members are chosen randomly to serve as judges) the slam begins. It’s competitive, sure, but it’s supportive and inclusive. All kinds of poetry are welcome. Memorization is not required (but it totally helps!). Open slam winners compete at quarterly semifinal slams in an effort to reach the finals in May. Friend Urbana Poetry Slam on Facebook to learn more.
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery (between Houston & Bleecker)
F train to Second Ave, or 6 train to Bleecker